The Fruits Are Ripe for Picking!ย 

After almost 20 years I’ve got a garden. This is rare in London. The whole Train Heal Breathe concept grew out of me not having a garden and finding resourceful ways to connect with local green space, then sharing this with my clients.

At the same time the journey of getting fit took me though green areas in Hackney I would never have seen if I wasn’t for training like jogging or cycling.

As I grew fitter and stronger I found more parks, that gave me more activities to do like barwork, trx, olympic rings and I became stronger still. I trailed Walthamstow and Hackney marshes: meditating, stretching, yoga, running, sprint training, gymnastics, calisthenics, dancing, inversions. I’ve found almost every grassy corner of Hackney to train in.

The green space became more than just a park, it was community space, for everyone.  No social, financial, cultural barriers, if you wanna be fit and strong and beautiful you have to work for it. End of. And in that we are all connected. (Philosophically refreshing!)

Your local green space is healing. You might not be aware of it but what you will feel is a sense of img_9007calm after being outside for a few hours, weathered. Science has done the proving bit to show blood pressure decreases, anxiety levels go down, reduced insomnia, reduced depression etc

Even better if you’ve put your hands in the soil, physically connecting to the Earth (handstands, gardening) and even better still if you can put your head on the Earth like with headstands.

The discipline it took to get out into public space rather than use a private garden was tough!! There’s a lot more prep involved (warm clothes, blankets, food and drink, camera etc) and confidence. I had to grow as a person to be very independent and strong enough to get away if there was trouble. img_8846

Then, one day, I get a garden.  A wild, unkempt and beautiful with massive trees all around, the size that makes you stop, see magnitude, gasp and get perspective. Just moments away from a busy road but total peace. An oasis. Only the people who live in the houses know. This is what I love about London. Lots of hidden gems. Am in awe. And full of gratitude as I appreciate this more than ever!

The garden has been left for years. But there’s so much potential. I was sitting under the tree when I thought hold on, that’s fruit. Jaw dropped. And it looks ripe. What’s so strange is that it was like a mirage because I didn’t spot the fruit before but now that I did I could see ripe fruit everywhere?! Each branch led to more and more fruit! It was like a fairytale, I could see abundance! LOL. I couldn’t see it before but now I could, it was everywhere (hoping the metaphor might roll out into the wallet area too ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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And even though I’ve spent as much time as possible in nature I still forget that food grows naturally. That it is free, with a little care-taking and responsibility. That, often, so much grows you can’t contain it (so you make jams and conserves).

Just reaching out with my own hand and eating what has grown naturally on the Earth felt like an illusion. Surely I need to part with cash? Walk into a building? Find a plastic container and buy the food? Be stressed? Put it in a plastic bag? Feel more struggle to get this organic freshly locally grown hand picked berry?

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So this week I discovered that there’s a plum tree and an apple tree in the garden and I’ve picked 3 containers worth of fruit already! This is worth a lot of money!! Calories = coins. And I burn a lot! So pleased on many levels; financial, nutritional, emotional…. picking the fruit was immediately calming, a form of grounding and connecting with the earth. Getting away from day to day electromagnetic energy from phones and laptops.

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The gratitude I feel for having a garden and watching it blossom from not having a garden for so long is a beautiful thing.
This space could potentially provide me with the best quality training fuel, medicine, herbs and sanctuary I could ever wish for. I can recycle food waste as compost, collect water start my own herb garden and vegetable patch (and save a lot of money on food!)

After tasting the fruits it was deep! I hadn’t tasted real food in a long time. Fresh zingy burst of vitamins, real flavour!!

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Eat your greens!! ย And your yellows!

Lately I’ve been eating enough to fuel 10 men ๐Ÿ˜ which basically means lots of yellow foods to sustain my training whilst gaining some kilos. Why gain? It’s a common goal when weight training; if you want more strength and muscle tone you need more mass. You also get denser, which is why strength training is now officially recommended for a minimum of twice a week by the Government to avoid osteoporosis. For ladies who want a nice ass you have to eat to fuel the booty ok!

I burn A LOT of calories working outside, dancing all weekend and doing my own training during the week. To give you some perspective I can end up a kilo lighter at the end of a weekend of dancing. And during the week I replace the weight by rehydrating, eating carbs to replenish muscle glycogen, meditating and bringing heart rate/metabolism down and then as soon as I’ve eaten lots of calories (always as healthy and wholesome as possible but definitely not perfect) train again to improve my capacity on the dance floor the following weekend! ๐Ÿ’ช

I do all round training for dancing: one high intensity heavy weight training session 3hrs, a swim, a run or 2, sprint training, trx/suspension training, barwork, dance training (my own ting), stretch and gymnastics. Then every month or 6 weeks I sleep for a week and do no training other than teaching. Then wake up with a new body. It’s a very exciting journey!

That’s why I eat lots of yellow foods; they’re great! They are FUEL. You can’t do anything without them. Carbohydrates and fat and protein and calories = yellow. But the downside is they tend to be acidic so you have to balance with the raw fruit and veg which is alkali.

Yellow foods are: bread, eggs, cheese, pancakes, porridge, pumpkin and channa roti ๐Ÿ˜€, pizza, potatoes, falafel wraps, peanut butter on toast.  They can be healthy or they can be unhealthy depending on whether you’re using fresh ingredients at home or eating from a dirty takeout. This is where the effort comes in. I’m def not 100% there yet.

Here’s some wholesome yellow foods:

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pumpkin and channa roti

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scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast

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porridge with rice milk, coconut oil and shelled hemp

I haven’t been eating enough greens lately and I need to address the balance quick as flu season takes hold. I couldn’t fuel what I do on greens as there’s not enough calories. So I ordered a delivery from my favourites, the Organic Delivery Company. They’re fruit and veg tastes delicious and has a noticeable difference in quality to supermarket veg. The flavours of real fruits are a delight. I’m now sitting down to eat plate after plate of raw veg, steamed veg, salads, green smoothies etc… and get back on track. (As well as yellow foods!).

HWhy akali? Alkali foods tend to have lots of vitamins and minerals as they are mostly straight from the earth. The less you cook it the more nutritents. I think hot food is important too as warming the body is essential in the cold, just be aware it doesn’t have the same nutritional content.

You feel instantly amazing: clean, detoxed and energised! Gonna train hard tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜€

Fuel for training and nutritional support given to all client sessions includind food diary analysis if you buy 10.

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Food Diary – what do YOU need to eat?

Discipline to train and discipline to eat: as you develop a discipline for training you need to develop, in tandem, a discipline for eating healthy too. Exercise amplifies whatever good or bad food habits you have because you’re consuming more fuel (even if your goal is fat loss you still need to eat more – another topic).

What does healthy mean? What is healthy for one might not be healthy for another. You have to be clear about goals, weaknesses, types of training and how your digestive system works; what sorts of fuel work best for you, do you train on empty, eat before bed? We’re all very different and this journey is about becoming an expert on what foods work best for you. It might mean behaving differently from the crowd who can project their eating habits onto you, display shock, even arrogance at the way you eat and knock your confidence. This is a test of resolve and self belief: in becoming fit and strong you develop a stronger mind too; you can’t have one without the other.

What is your fuel? Some people thrive off fats as fuel, some carbs, certain training programmes require more protein, others less, some are looking to increase calorie intake or protein, others a calorie restricted diet that still provides adequate energy for exercise. Your fuel can also change depending on hormones, recent exercise history, stress, medical problems (life basically).

A trainer can help identify which foods are typically recommended for which training plans. If you don’t have an expert to hand then research. Never before has so much information been so easily available. We’re walking around with libraries in our pockets. Use it. Google it. Don’t be afraid to look at science research papers; read the abstract or conclusion. Always challenge authority, even the scientists (which is what science was in160316 glum2itially all about), always research whatever info you’ve been told, never take anyone’s word for it EVER because we are all different systems and scientific knowledge is fluid; it will change. Your body is your responsibility.

Process of elimination: you will make many mistakes before you learn what your body thrives off. As in business the mistakes are the most valuable lessons. To find out what doesn’t work is the journey of life! (Amen). The more experienced you are the quicker you learn from mistakes and adapt. Ponder but don’t dwell and never ever think it’s easier for anyone else.

Step 1 – Food diary

  • IMG_3221.JPGFood diaries are the first step to working all this out by looking at what you actually eaas opposed to what you think you eat. Write down everything you nibble, graze, sniff, guzzle, drink and it’s not just about meals, even if you eat one chip of your kid’s dinner, write it down. Everything.
  • Also write down any exercise you do and all activity like walking, DIY, domestic chores and shopping (this is considered light exercise).
  • At the end of 3 days or longer, write down your thoughts and feelings when reading it back. Is it what you expect? Are you a secret eater!? Are you ready to face this?
  • Don’t judge! Acknowledge and accept. 
  • Write down your goals (e.g include more greens, less sugar, min protein requirements [Protein] avoid over eating).

Step 2 – Take time to think

160316 cartoonThis is what people mean when they say ‘manifest your desires’; before you achieve something you need to concentrate on it. Have a sit down or lie down and think about your goals, what you’ve eaten in your diary, how you feel about it, any old demons? Are you ready to release them? (you might not be!) do you feel strong emotions like shame or guilt regarding food?

Write it down. You’ve just come a step closer to dealing with some stuff.

Think about healthy food that makes your mouth water, what would you really like to try this week, your gut knows what it wants/needs and will attempt to direct you to the foods that contain those nutrients but doesn’t always get heard.

If you have any junk food cravings like burgers & chips, chinese or kebab then try and recreate a home cook healthy version that will hit the spot as opposed to denying it. Junk food is often based on a healthy original version the difference is effort your effort! Also on a serious note you might need fat, salt, calories, protein and that’s ok simply look for ways to fill those needs using quality whole foods. We’ve moved on from ‘diet’ mentality as it’s not effective or healthy.

For example butchers beef can be much cheaper than supermarket meat and you can check the source of meat, give money to a local business and have good quality free range meat burgers. Instead of chips boil potatoes and grill with a little oil, add loads of salad. Or, you could decide in advance the healthiest alternative; lots of healthy kebabs for example; grilled chicken & salad wrap, houmus & salad wrap.

If you like sweet things google sugar alternative cakes and try out a new sweet treat without sugar and healthy alternatives. If it falls apart keep trying. Don’t deny yourself foods but be creative in getting the hit you like with nutritional ingrediants. Get involved.

Step 3: plan meals and snacks

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Preparing meals and snacks takes time. Most likely your calendar is already at its max so you have to make sacrifices; lose one social occasion a week or one activity in order to have time to prepare food and freeze it.

It’s tedious but you gotta do it. Include all the food types: carbohydrates (low GI, google it if you don’t know it’s important), protein, fat, fibre and the best bit GREENS (vitamins & minerals). Then think about snacks. What is easy to prepare to take with you to work or when going out? Can you freeze it and make lots? Based on your goals your snack will vary wildly!

Step 4: plan shopping

160316 delivery cartoonOn the same day plan through your shopping, food diary in one hand, shopping list in the other. This is a good time to book a delivery; straight after looking through your diary and analysing your emotions regarding the foods you eat. Organic delivery companies that use local producers are healthy on many levels (another blog topic). Generally deliveries allow you to be in control of what you’re buying in the comfort of your own home as opposed to being hungry after work, rushing about with lots on your mind and lots of promotional material steering you off your path.

You might have to dedicate a day or a half day to do this. Sacrifices are worth it when you’re parading your abs around the park this summer :). Fitness is democratic every effort you put in pays and equally any pretence will be revealed! Good luck!

 

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Animals

  
You know when you take a moment with an animal that they are feeling, sentient, intelligent creatures. Stood here for a good 10 mins, acknowledging each other, contemplating. Beautiful and gentle. 

Pushing each day to eat less animal protein and move towards vegan. Hopefully 2016 I can smash this. 

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Protein

  
The key to training is fuel. It goes against the notion of ‘dieting’. At first it can seem confusing. Stuck in the 80s or even 90s: to lose weight = eat less calories/food. 

A look of fear passes over their eyes. You’re going to make me eat more?! Then resistance, defiance even. If someone starts training, regularly, twice a week, from zero activity, the body is in shock. It needs sleep and quality fuel to adapt (and lots of stretching and Epsom Salt baths). You need the quality fuel to train so you can become fitter (more efficient heart and lungs), grow new muscles and gradually burn excess fat as your body becomes a leaner meaner machine.

But you can’t train on empty! The idea that you can simply burn the fat you have on your body and eat the same amount of food is a ‘diet’ mentality. Which is phasing out. Training for fitness, strength and health means eating seriously and employing long term changes not rapidly reducing calorie intake then increasing again after the ‘diet’ period has finished.

Protein intake must be increased to replenish and recover the muscles after training. This is critical. You work your muscles when you train: they tear and over the following 48 hrs are in recovery. The pain you experience after training is the process of your muscles rebuilding and growing and creating a more ‘toned’ body. 

The amount you increase by is personal and you must become your own body expert as you start to take your physical person seriously. Listen to all experts but always take advice with a ‘pinch of salt’, be aware of your own quirks, integrate expert knowledge with your own understanding of your body. Experts are experts in a topic but you should be an expert on your own body. Someone you’ve never met before but is a trained professional is going to give the best knowledge they have in their area of expertise but you can’t expect them to know the details of your body. That’s where you begin to take responsibility.

Official advice is 19-50 yrs 55g and over 50 yrs is 53g protein per day, see Gov guidelines on nutrient intake.

Vegan and vegetarian advice is similar with 50-60g per day. In the fitness and strength training world advice differs dramatically from this. Protein requirements depend upon your body weight and the amount of training you do (more body = more muscle = more protein and more training = more protein):

Sedentary body weight in kg = grams of protein.

Medium intensity/cardio workout; body weight in kg x 1.5 = grams of protein

High intensity/strength training; body weight in kg x (2, 2.5 or 3) = grams of protein. Depending on which fitness or muscles experts you talk to.

This is where the journey of becoming fit doesn’t just change your body but your mind as well. You start to learn through trial and error what your body needs. How much extra protein you need when you train and also find out how much you need when you’re sedentary. This is the key to maintaining a healthy weight or rather a healthy tone and body fat.

I have to eat A LOT of protein and no matter how much endurance cardio I do I still can’t eat refined sugar or flour without it affecting me negatively (internally in my digestive system and superficially with fat immediately going on my stomach!) Carbohydrate intake has to increase too which is a whole other topic for another blog.

Vegetarians and vegans have to adjust their protein too and there’s plenty of options available. Because meat has such a high protein content it’s easier for meat eaters to meet the extra protein requirements from training. 

Both meat eaters and veggies have to be scientific about their food intake and the best way to start is by keeping a food diary 3-5 days and calculate how much protein you’re eating at the moment. Then compare to your weight in kilos and note down any activity. Don’t change anything. From here you will have your foundation protein intake. You’ll be able to see if you’re eating above or below the basic requirements and whether that works for you.

For example person A weighs 70kg, on a sedentary day they require 70g of protein. When they train to medium intensity and do cardio like running or cycling or swimming they might require 1.5 x 70 (body weight in kg) = 105g of protein. If they do a weights session they might need 2 x 70 (body weight in kg) = 140g of protein.

The latest thoughts on nutrition and weight loss are more focused on satiety (how full you are) than calories. Protein fills you up. So when your body reacts to training and especially the first month or so into training you get a deep dark hunger. This is likely to be a protein craving and your body is crying to be refuelled so it can rebuild and grow muscle. If you don’t increase your protein intake you can end up eating the ‘wrong’ foods like sugar and other refined carbs that won’t feed your muscles but further increase body fat.

Another point to bear in mind is there’s evidence to show that too much protein in a sedentary lifestyle could be damaging to health yet also when your ill sometimes your body requires more protein to recover. Complicated isn’t it! Little by little you can work out what works for you. 

Protein shake recipe: almond milk, banana, (organic) peanut butter, (cold extracted Pulsin brand) whey protein. Blend together between 30-40g protein.

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