How to ward off a cold this Christmas

Being such a busy time of year and with the cold weather reallly kicking in so many of us and our kids come down with colds, coughs and the flu as our immune systems are lower and our bodies less fit to ward off the illnesses!  Boosting your immune system is key to not only recovering faster but also means you have less chance of catching the cold and sickness bugs in the first place.  So I picked our Scrummy Mummy, Nutritionist’s, Steph Ridley’s brains for her top tips to ward off colds and flu this Christmas so you can enjoy the festivities and not have to spend it in bed with a box of tissues!
 
Vitamin C and ‘antioxidants’ are key to boosting your immune system. These are found in fruits and vegetables and whilst your diet may include plenty of these the amount of actual vitamin C your getting from your fruit and vegetables may not be as high as you think. Vitamin C is water soluable and heat sensitive so these elements deplete their levels. Any heat processing, which occurs during the manufacturing process of juice, and boiling or cooking vegetables reduces the vitamin C content.   

  •  So, always buy a juice which says ‘NOT from concentrate’. Orange juice from concentrate is more radically heat processed. Better still squeeze your own from pure oranges.  
  • Drink a mug of hot water every morning with lemon and manuka honey will give you a real boost. The lemon contains vitamin C and the manuka honey is a natural antibacterial agent.
  •  Steam your veg – we often think by eating vegetables and fruit we are having vitamin C but if these have been subjected to prolonged heat this destroys the vitamins and nutrients. Steaming and stir-frying your vegetables is the best way to retain vitamins as they are quicker cooking methods.
  • Add a daily handful of berries such as blueberries, blackberries or Strawberries to your breakfast or snack you’ll be taking in more antioxidants to boost your immune systems
  • Eat plenty of green vegetables in particular brussel sprouts – these have high levels of vitamin C.

For a lovely green vegetable recipe which takes just ten minutes to prepare, go to the Beez Kneez recipe binder on the bbc good food website.
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5823/indian-spiced-greens

How to start feeling the BeezKneez…Exclusive offer from the Massage Centre

I recently took a Massage with Fran Kehoe, the head therapist and owner of The Massage Centre, in Chiswick. It was the best, most relaxing experience. Not just your ‘regular’ massage, Fran had real insight into how I was feeling, the tension in my ‘mummy’ muscles and how to help out some of my aliments right. I went away after the session, feeling good and I slept like a log. No wonder that in a recent survey of new clients, 98% reported that their treatment at the Massage Centre had completely met their expectations and 50% stated that the treatment exceeded their expectations. What’s more is that they are convenient – just a minute’s walk from Turnham Green Station and are open 7 days with week (Mon-Fri 7am-10pm, Sat & Sun 8am-6pm).

Massage is a proven and effective way to relax, increase your energy and relieve your discomfort and tension both during pregnancy and after your baby is born! But you need to have the right massage therapist who has the experience and knows how to treat you on an individual basis. Fran and his male and female team at the Massage centre are highly talented and passionate pre and post natal massage therapists. They have helped many mums and mums to be, enjoy a better quality of life, enabling them to do those activities they enjoy, whilst looking and feeling healthier.

And to help you start feeling good now and to help take that time out you deserve, The Massage Centre in Chiswick are offering BeezKneez ladies a special introductory offer of £15 off your first one hour treatment before Friday 12th October. To take advantage of this offer please call us now on 020 8166 8958 (quote Beez Kneez). We look forward to hearing from you!

For more details on the Clinic please go to our website: www.tmc-chiswick.com

Anti-ageing food secret for mums

Contrary to what the fat phobics believe, the right kind of fat is essential to not only keep skin looking young but also to help prevent the dreaded belly fat.
Actually eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrate is more likely to put on the extra pounds and make your skin look tired and spotty. The right kind of fat can help flatten your stomach and seriously improve your health!

So which foods contain the fats you should be eating?
Since looking closely at many of my client’s food diaries and researching more into nutrition, I now take two dessertspoons of Flaxseed daily and stir fry vegetables with a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle Brazil nut oil on salads. Just two to three tablespoons of Olive Oil a day can protect you against Heart Disease, improve your skin, boost your mood, improve your immune system, and boosts brain function (ah – mummy brain!)

Flaxseed, olive oil and nut oil fall under the umbrella term ‘essential fatty acids’ with the key word being ‘essential’. Your body needs them – this kind of fat is actually your friend! These fats help you absorb Vitamins A, D and E, vital for your nervous system, lower cholesterol levels and also help prevent stubborn abdominal fat!

There are two kinds of the Essential Fats to include in your diet:

These are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled.

Mono-unsaturated: You’ll find them in:
Olive Oil
Olives
Canola Oil
Almonds
Cashews
Peanut Butter
Nut oil Butter (check out your Health food shop, or Nature Intended)
Sesame Seeds
Avocados

Polyunsaturated:
These contain omega 6 and omega 3′s that your body needs but doesn’t produce itself so you have to get these essential fats from foods containing them.
Omega-6 and omega-3 play a crucial role in brain function, memory and in the normal growth and development of your body. They are also essential to the healthy development of your baby’s brain!
Vegetable oils, nuts and seeds are good sources of omega 6 fatty acids. Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. However – government research shows that we are not eating enough omega 3 fish oils obtained from eating oily fish required for anti-ageing and great health. This is because many of us can’t stomach oily fish (or the smell!) or are concerned about the levels of toxins, PCB’s and other pollutants in fresh fish. Plus during pregnancy some fish are to be avoided due to the risk of high mercury levels. If you are not pregnant you can eat these fish but it’s worth enquiring about where they have come from. Also go for a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury such as canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, sea bass.
A supplement of Omega 3 is key, especially if you do not like oily fish. Healthspan has a good Omega 3 supplement.

How to fit in fitness when you are a busy mum

Exercise is often one of the things that becomes less of a priority once you have children. It can just get pushed to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list.
But if you knew that you could do a great workout in just 20 minutes three times a week, then it suddenly becomes more feasible. Our nutritionist, Stephanie Ridley, a mum of two and business owner of Nourish to Flourish shares her secrets of getting fitter with no time.

  • Choose five key exercises that use more than one muscle you can do in the bathroom when you children are in the bath. They will love watching you.
  • Take the children to the park and when they are on their scooters, do walking lunges or walking squats beside them, these are a great exercise to do to tone your thighs and outdoors exercise helps lift the endorphins, putting you in a better mood and increasing your energy.
  • Some parks now have outdoors cardiovascular equipment so whilst your little ones are playing you can watch them from the stepper! Intervals are best for fat burning it is important to get your heart rate up. Aim 45-60 seconds at a fast pace then 45-60 secs rest and repeat 4-6 times, depending on your fitness
  • Exercise at home doing whole body strength and conditioning workouts to tighten your post natal core, tone your muscles, strengthen your pelvic floor and get your metabolism burning fat. Use minimal equipment and an IPod for music. This saves time traveling to a gym. Consider a home personal trainer to take care of your exercise programme

 

 

Safe Pregnancy Fitness

Being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying regular exercise. In fact, pregnancy exercise has now become far more popular and it has plenty of benefits. By staying fit during your pregnancy you help improve your energy levels and mood, prevent backache, improve your core and lumbo-pelvic strength, help prepare you for labour and make it easier to get back into shape once the baby is born.

BUT there are some things you must be careful of as your body goes through such big changes. Here are some top tips:

1. Get the green light from your doctor
Make sure you check with your doctor before exercising during pregnancy. If you are experiencing any complications you may need to avoid exercise so if in doubt, ask the doc.

2. Warm-up.
This is essential before any exercise as it prepares your muscles to prevent injury and decreases post workout aches and pains.

3. Be consistent.
Shorter, more regular workouts are better than longer sessions that are less frequent.

4. Keep an eye on your body temperature.
In the first trimester especially, it’s very important not to over-heat. So make sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise, and avoid over-exerting yourself. Most of our clubs have air conditioning so make the most of it and position yourself in a nice cool spot. Wear loose fitting clothing that doesn’t soak up sweat, and wear layers that you can remove easily as you get warmer.

5. Stay hydrated.
Drink water before, during and after exercise. Sipping slowly but regularly will help to avoid heartburn.

6. Make sure you’ve eaten enough.
Avoid low blood sugar and fainting by making sure you’ve eaten enough before you begin. Carry a snack in your gym bag in just in case – this needs to have some protein – cashew or brazil nuts with a banana or apple is always a good option.

7. Get support.
Wear trainers that give you good support and cushioning and be sure to wear a sports bra. Sweaty Betty have some good bras and a range of supports.

8. Find a specific Antenatal Exercise Class with antenatal qualified instructors
Tell your class instructor about your pregnancy before you start and they will be able to offer you advice or lower impact options.

9. What to do if you have gestational diabetes.
If you have gestational diabetes you need to take particular precautions with exercise: monitor blood glucose levels, regulate meal times, incorporate rest periods and monitor baby movements and uterine contractions.

10. Tune into your body.
If you start to feel unusual – headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath – stop the exercise. And if you can’t hold a conversation while you’re exercising, you’re working too hard.

11. It’s all about maintaining rather than improving fitness.
Your goal should be trying to keep fit and healthy while pregnant. One good way to monitor your intensity is to score it from 1-10 – one being lying on the sofa, 10 being maximum exertion – and then make sure you stay between 6-7.

12. Be aware of the warning signs.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynacologist (RCOG) (Link to: http://www.rcog.org.uk/womens-health/clinical-guidance/exercise-pregnancy) advises you to stop exercising and seek medical advice if you experience any of the following:

• Excessive shortness of breath
• Chest pain or palpitations
• Dizziness
• Painful uterine contractions or preterm labour
• Leakage of amniotic fluid
• Vaginal Bleeding
• Excessive Fatigue
• Abdominal pain, particularly in back of pubic area.
• Pelvic girdle pain
• Reduced foetal movement
• Dyspnoea before exertion
• Headaches
• Mucle Weakness
• Calf pain or swelling

And, of course, make sure it’s fun. If it’s not fun, you won’t stay motivated to be consistent.

Useful link:
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynacologists guidelines on exercise during pregnancy (LINK TO: http://www.rcog.org.uk/womens-health/clinical-guidance/recreational-exercise-and-pregnancy)
This content aims to give general fitness advice and tips to expectant mothers experiencing a normal pregnancy. This should not be treated as a substitute for or supersede any medical advice you have been given.

Ten Top Tips on Taking Time Out during Pregnancy

It’s important to take some ‘me’ time during any stage of your pregnancy (but I’m sure you don’t need an excuse!). So, let’s relax the bump (and you)..Janay from the Birth Specialists gives us ten top tips ways to chill out.

  1. Take 5 minutes to put your feet up. Lie on your left side on the sofa, especially in the third trimester of your pregnancy.
  2. Go for a pregnancy massage – you will not be asked to lie on your tummy if you go to a specialists pregnancy massage parlour.
  3. Book in for a wonderfully relaxing Reflexology session – your feet are meant to be the map of your body! Make sure you see a Reflexologist, who is qualified to treat pregnant women.
  4. Listen to your favourite calming music. Music has the ability to transport you to a great place and time.
  5. Meditation or visualisation is a brilliant way of relaxing your body. Life gets so busy and stressful that you really do need to take the time out to purposely relax.
  6. Laugh out loud! Laughing released endorphins – the body’s feel good hormones. Spend time with people you love, watch your favourite comedy, tickle your partner!
  7. Go for a walk and get some fresh air and (hopefully) sunshine! Take time to notice the miracle of nature. When you are out in sunshine take off any glasses, sunglasses and contact lenses to all the sunlight into your eyes.
  8. Take a relaxing bath or go for a gentle swim – you are buoyant in water – so a lovely way to take the weight off!
  9. Breathe! We know this sounds simple but taking just 5 minutes to focus on breathing in and out deeply will give your body time to relax and repair.
  10. Enjoy each moment of your pregnancy. 40 weeks go by in a flash – so take pictures, keep a diary and savour the moments.

For some great relaxation audio, specifically for women who are either pregnant or have recently become a mum, you should check out the birth specialists website. You can either choose the cd or the mp3 download version of all tracks to sooth anxiety and get you to ‘switch off’. Click here to see their range of recordings.

Why salt is actually VERY important in pregnancy

Steph, our guru nutritionist has found some important information out for pregnant ladies!

Your probably didn’t know this but new research has shown that sodium (salt) is now very important during pregnancy. Sodium is needed to regulate blood plasma volume, which increases in pregnancy. Increased blood volume occurs as you gain weight with the growing baby but also as blood is the first way your body receives nourishment, so you produce a greater amount to accommodate the baby nourishment’s needs too.

In the past they used to recommend women reduce their sodium intake, especially if they had high blood pressure or odema (swelling), but the dangers of doing that have been found to be a risk to sodium regulation and can in extreme cases alter the course and outcome of the pregnancy.

So good advice now is to add salt just ‘to taste’ – Steph recommends you use a multi-mineral salt that gives you plenty of other minerals as well as the sodium for example, Himalayan rock salt – which can be found in most health shops.

Prenatal exercise is also key – exercise improves the circulation and the better your circulation, the more nutrients and oxygen your baby gets so the healthier it will be!

No time to exercise? Top tips to get you in shape for the very busy mum

Today’s mum is a superhero! Being a mum, juggling chores, taking care of your other half, errands, admin and work can play havoc on any exercise programme and make finding time to get fit very tricky. So it gets left right at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list.

Yet it can be done! Vicky Warr gives her top tips to help  you save time and into shape  easily. Without a gym or a diet, stacks of time and without even realizing it.

The school or nursery run…as your morning workout.
Walking briskly to and from nursery or school instead of driving means you get a workout, fresh air and what some call ‘moving meditation’. The breathing and repetitive movement involved with walking or jogging promotes feelings of calm and tranquility and reduces stress. Being outdoors releases endorphins, natural hormones which promote a sense of feeling good. Plus by increasing your pace, you’ll burn more calories in less time.

Short bursts of strength exercise
You can do this in just 15 minutes a day, three times a week, using just your bodyweight in the comfort of your own home. Recent studies have shown that strength training boosts your metabolism by 10% and increases post exercise fat burning by 100%.

Push-ups, squats, lunges, step-ups (using your stairs), are all ‘multi-muscle’ exercises meaning you use more than one muscle group with one exercise. Using more muscles means toning up more muscles!

Whilst walking or jogging will burn calories and get you fit – exercises using your whole body and lots of different muscles gets you amazing results.

Look for little windows of opportunity.
When the baby naps, use that ten, twenty or thirty minute chance to do some quick exercises at home.
Little and often is actually better than inconsistent exercise of one hour or longer. This keeps your metabolism burning. Latest research shows quick interval training is far superior to slow, traditional cardio-vascular exercise. It results in burning more stomach fat and as your workouts are shorter, it’s over quicker!

Buddy up..
If you and your partner exercise, it sends out a great signal and example to your children. Here’s how both you and your other half can fit it in…

  • Try getting up early (before the baby wakes) for a run or swim or to do your exercise
  • Be active with your baby or child, running with a baby jogger is a great way of getting back into running. Make sure your only start running with them when they have neck control, usually after 6 months. They’re a bit more resilient by this age and may be eating solid foods.
  • Exercise with the baby – try baby presses, baby lunges and baby squats.

Organise ‘Fitness Friday’
Grab a willing friend who also has a little one. Friday could be your day when a friend comes over with their children or baby and you take it in turns to look after the children while the other one does some exercises for thirty minutes, then you swap.

Seek out a Mother and Baby fitness class
If you’ve just had a baby, you often want to get back into shape and get out of the door to meet other mums! There are some mums post natal fitness classes where you can take the baby, check out what’s going on in your local area. These classes are social, fun and motivating – they help lift the ‘baby blues’ and post natal depression and get you fit.

Chores to music
When you have to do the washing, cleaning and tidying up, put the music on, set the timer for fifteen minutes and get the whole family involved. Make it an activity – go up and down the stairs, dance around as you put toys away and as you have the timer on you’ll have to move quickly to get it done!

Do something you love..
Ask someone to look after your child and take some time out to do an activity you love. This is essential for any mum – dance, play a sport (netball is becoming increasingly popular activity), go hiking or take a swim. That way you won’t see exercise as a chore or punishing!

And finally here is one very good reason why you should try to make exercise non-negiotable!

Vicky Warr is founder of the Beez Kneez (www.beez-kneez.co.uk) specialising in pregnancy and post natal, mum and baby group fitness classes. Founder of Member of Wetrainmoms.com and Senior level YMCA-accredited personal fitness trainer.

Vicky consults for BBC Radio, Mothercare and Teapigs. She writes for  many national publications including the Gurgle Magazine, Daily Mail, Pregnancy and birth and bounty.com. She is also a mum to Luca and Poppy.

For details of prenatal and postnatal group fitness classes, visit: www.beez-kneez.co.uk

Feel the love with our FREE Class February Offer

TheBeezKneez wants you to know that we love you and are here to take care of your fitness! As a Mum you run around looking after everyone else and neglect ourselves. As a Mum to be it is VERY important to look after yourself and get fit to have your baby. To prove it we are offering you and/or a friend a FREE fitness class of your choice during week of 20th February.

You can either invite your friend along to the class you already go to, invite them to go to any other class  PLUS you can attend another FREE class that week at any other venue or day. Just check the timetable at our website. You will need to complete a medical form online or during the class before participating in the class.

To book your FREE Class call us now on 020 8 354 1583 or book a trial class at our website and use the coupon code ‘feelthelove’ at our shop www.beez-kneez.co.uk to redeem the offer.

The Small print

The free class is for any new or existing customers but does not replace or refund any classes or catch up classes previously purchased. Free classes need to be taken from 20th February until 25th February, inclusive. Offer expires on 25th Feb. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

7 Delicious Healthier Ways to Eat Chocolate..but still get your fix

Most females like their bout of chocolate and chocolate seems to get a lot of attention. From dark to caramel, from chocolate lovers week-ends away to Charlie and the Chocolate factory and last week it was National Chocolate week!

But we all know that eating chocolate is not such a good idea if you’d like to stay in shape during pregnancy and flatten your mummy tummy post baby. The fat and sugar content from eating poor quality stuff, too much of it and too often can not only creep on quickly as extra weight (especially around the tummy) it can also lead to health risks such as diabetes. However as soon as you tell yourself that you can’t eat that piece of chocolate, it’s all you’ll think about until you realise you’ve delved right into eating the full bar! And as for the cravings you may get due to hormones, stress, emotions, being a mummy, it is very easy to reach for the chocolate as a comfort factor!

So with some creativity and research (which was fun!) I’ve put together a list of Seven Delicious Healthier ways to Eat Chocolate. So you’ll improve the quality of your chocolate ‘fix’ and  save yourself the health risks and calories.

1. Chocolate Covered Fruit
Dip some strawberries or other fruit into good quality chocolate (70% cocoa solids) and you can both satisfy a chocolate craving and add fruit to your diet at the same time. A thin coating, means not too much for your waistline, and the fruit will help satisfy your appetite to avoid overindulging. Save the calories Tip: Keep the coating thin and go for 3-4 pieces of fruit or strawberries

2. Cacao Nibs
Your healthiest choice ! Eat these whole. This is what true chocolate is made from -  cacao beans that have been roasted, hulled and prepped to be  processed into chocolate bars. Crush cacao nibs with a rolling pin and to make chocolate chips and add to natural yogurt as an extra to a snack. Or create a raw chocolate bar, blend together cacao nibs, agave nectar, carob powder, coconut oil, cacao butter and cashews or almonds (without the shell). Pour into a tray and freeze.

3. The Cheeky Chocolate Mousse from the Pure Package, London’s leading gourmet diet food delivery company. There’s three great things about this indulgent delight is that it not only tastes great, it has zero sugar and it is dead easy to make!
Full of dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants..
Check out their recipe here (taken from The Pure Package: The DIET for Food Lovers, Jennifer Irvine)


4. Chocolate Brazil Nuts
Save the waistline Tip: Just 3 of these is enough for a chocolate fix with the added benefits of the nutrients of brazil nuts containing essential healthy fats. Aim for dark chocolate coated ones.

5. Chocolate Goji berries
Goji berries are filled with powerful antioxidants that may help prevent cancer and other illnesses, including heart disease. Their antioxidants may also boost the immune system, lower cholesterol and may slow the aging process as well. I recommend this brand dipped in raw chocolate.
Save the waistline Tip:
Keep to a small handful covering half a palm as the raisins are still high in calories.

6. Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies
You won’t notice the Beetroot and neither will your kids or other half! These have around half the fat of regular brownies and the added nutritional benefit of the beetroot, which is rich in Betalian and antioxidants that help reduce risk of heart disease and cancer. Also high in folic acid (great for pregnancy), vitamins A, B-1, B-2 and C and minerals iron, calcium and potassium. Beetroot is also said to have a cleansing and detoxifying effect on the kidneys and gall bladder. This recipe still contains sugar so.. Save the Waistline Tip: Cut the brownies into small squares (1 inch by 1 inch) and eat just one.

7. Hot Chocolate Drink (Green & Black’s dark variety)
Great once a week treat – especially around this time of year. It is of better quality than your usual hot chocolate as you have the health benefits of the dark chocolate powder.  Try it with Almond Milk rather than regular milk for healthy fats.

Just remember two key things when trying these ideas:

Dark Chocolate is good source of flavinoids, which milk doesn’t have.  It also gives you a sense of fullness and rarely has so much sugar added to it.  You need at least 70% cocoa solids.

Moderation

How much? Aim for 2 squares – enough to give you a ‘fix’.
Why is that?
For information! Green & Black’s Miniatures (15g) has 85 calories compared to a snack Cadbury milk chocolate bar which has 210 calories or bag of Malteasers which has 187 calories!