MAKING A HEALTHY LIFE A LITTLE EASIER!

24 02 2011

Too busy to go to the gym? Don’t like cooking? Craving a pizza and an easy life?

Sticking to a healthy lifestyle can sometimes become a burden. I have long since ditched the notion of weighing potions and counting calories – it is boring, cumbersome and frankly calorie controlled diets don’t work long term anyway. SO what are the short cuts you can take to make it easier to get healthier? Here are my top tips that cover everything from cooking, eating out, working out and even what to do in the bedroom….

  • If you are cooking a healthy meal, ALWAYS double up on ingredients and freeze a potion or two. Home cooked frozen food is great as a back up – take out the freezer in the morning and it just needs re-heated (not in a microwave which destroys many nutrients).
  • If you are the kind of person that succumbs to mid-afternoon snacking on junk then ditch the caffeine which makes you much more prone to cravings and bring fruit / nuts / seeds with you instead. Keep a stash of healthy snacks in the drawer at work.
  • When going out for a meal avoid eating the entire bread basket before the starter even comes! You’ll ruin your good intentions and your appetite. Ask them to ‘hold the bread’ and nibble on olives instead.
  • You have been asked out on a date but don’t want to ditch the diet? Stick to Thia, fish restaurants or experiment with the more unusual Lebanese or Jamican. Avoid Italian, Indian and the greasy spoon should not even get a look in!
  • Get off the treadmill! If you join a gym, don’t be shy. Ask for help with your gym programme and maximise the knowledge of the staff. If you usually drive to your workout could you jog or cycle instead – a perfect warm up and not nearly as boring as watching the minutes tick by on machines.
  • Getting frisky is a great way to boost health, wellbeing and confidence, provided it is with the right person! A healthy sex life can add years to your life expectancy – and summer sunshine can bring out the flirt in all of us. It goes without saying that sex must be safe.
  • After cooking, eating, working out and finding a mate – the next in line is sleep! Not only might you need a good nights rest after a day like that but sleep is when your body rejuvenates. Too little sleep and your immunity will suffer and you age faster. Try going to bed ½ hr to 1hr earlier than normal and see how much better you feel. Goodnight!

* * *

Originally written for The National, UAE’s national daily!





DEVOTED TO THE FAIRER SEX

24 02 2011

This month I am shamelessly devoting my column to the fairer sex. You would be walking around with blinkers on if you didn’t notice that March was the month of Mother’s Day and International Women’s day, a launch pad for women’s issues the world over.

Cards, flowers and chocolates are all very well but really caring for the women in your life – or looking after you – requires more than just Hallmark and Hershey’s.

Women are complex (so says the man in my life!); I choose to take it as a compliment! Hormonally we are certainly more complex and our needs for minerals such as iron and B vitamins ebb and flow with our cycle. But it is in the field of functional food and not supplements where women can make sure they get what their body requires whilst also making life simpler.

In any women’s store cupboard should be wheatgerm, a cheap health-food basic that is simply the embryo of the wheat kernel. For those that avoid wheat based products, no need to worry, the kernel contains only the good stuff and is not associated with any of the negative wheat-based problems.

Wheatgerm is one of the best sources of folic acid; a nutrient that is not just important for childbearing years but that also reduces a compound in your body called homocysteine. Lower levels of homocysteine have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis bone fractures, and dementia. It also contains powerful antioxidants that help prevent free radical damage and ageing.

The good news for those of you with kiddies is that it is pretty much undetectable even by the palates of picky eaters. Indeed, in our house, wheatgerm is welcomed as ‘sprinkles’ – an addition to smoothies, yoghurt or cereal.

For a real treat though, fill the house with the scent of freshly made guilt-free biscuits that contain a good serving of wheatgerm. Even better, boys, get your apron on and show us girls what you are made of!

Oaty Wheatgerm Biscuits

Preheat oven to 350°F

Combine ¾ cup oil, 1 cup of honey and 2 tablespoons of molasses.

Add two eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

Add two teaspoons of vanilla essence.

Combine ¾ cup soya flour, sifted with ½ cup milk powder (skimmed for lower fat), also sifted.

Add raisins (or dates), walnuts, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 ½ cups of wheat germ and 2 cups of oatmeal or porridge oats.

Stir all wet ingredients into dry ingredients and blend well.

Drop by teaspoons onto lightly oiled baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

* * *

Originally written for Foodies Magazine!





AMANDA TALKS THE BENEFITS OF RAW FOOD IN HER MSN COLUMN

3 02 2011

Amanda Hamilton: the raw truth

Donna Karen does it, Alicia Silverstone sells it and it might just be the secret to Demi Moore’s coupling with a gorgeous man 15 years her junior. And you really should know about it if you are looking to lose weight.

I am talking about raw food.

As it happens, I am on a raw food detox this week at Champneys in Tring. An enthusiastic groups of top stylists, models and normal everyday folk are dipping their toes in the water of a new way of eating that is seen as the ultimate trendy health kick in Los Angeles. Weight loss is so far averaging at ½ lb a day; can’t complain about that!
Saying that though, the raw movement itself is focused less on the weight loss (although it is an amazing way to shift that muffin top!) and instead on the activity of the enzymes that are only present in raw food. Here’s the science bit…

Enzymes are biomolecules that catalyze (i.e., increase the rates of) chemical reactions. In the 1930′s, when enzymes first came to the attention of biochemists, just 80 were identified; today, over 5,000 have been discovered.

These enzymes are abundant in raw food, yet there are none, nada, zero in cooked food. It is these enzymes that provide the energy for your body to work well on the inside, thus helping you to look better on the outside.

So the science goes, when you eat raw food, rather than drawing out your body’s finite resources to digest it, the food comes with its very own DIY digestion kit. So, your body can use that energy elsewhere for all-important jobs like fat burning and keeping your immune system working well.

It might just explain why Demi looks younger now than she did 15 years ago (although cynics will say that the surgeon’s knife might have had something to do with it).

Londoners can indulge in gourmet-style raw food at the healthy food mecca of the WholeFoods market in Kensington. This store started way back when in a funky little town in Arizona, USA, yet has ended up on the speed dial of super-fit celebs who are frequently seen picking up their weekly essentials there, fresh-faced from their yoga class.

My mate Chad Sarno is a world famous raw food chef (and bessie mates with the likes of Woody Harrelson) who has developed his own Gourmet raw food restaurant and has just moved it to the WholeFoods store. Courgette pasta anyone? Raw coco ice cream? Don’t laugh, it will soon be going mainstream. If you don’t want to wait that long, try out raw bars in your local health food shop – the chocolate flavour is my favourite!

A raw salad(PA)

PA

For those of you looking for more heavyweight credibility as to the benefit of this way of eating, turn to the landmark book’ Megatrends’ by John Naisbitt, who worked directly for President Kennedy when he was just 34!

Put simply, Naisbitt says that the little energy bundles that enzymes provide are the future of medicine. “Biology will be to the 21st century what physics and chemistry were to the 20th century. The main area of interest will be the production of enzymes or living catalysts,” he says. Wise words indeed.

Finally, if eco is your thing (and let’s face it, your simply not on trend if it’s not) then raw food ticks the green box too. Less cooking equals less electricity; less animal produce equals less impact on the environment from farming. Stella and Gwyneth would definitely approve.

Give it a shot by building up gradually. Start by making one meal completely raw and then add in two raw snacks a day. When you feel ready – and with spring in the air – now is definitely the time to do it. Switch your main meal to a large salad with lots of yummy ingredients.

Given the UK climate, going 100% raw is unlikely to ever be a good idea as it can’t make you feel toasty in the way a warm broth or pot of stew can. However, attempting a 60-80% raw diet this spring will certainly pay back in terms of that summer bikini body.

As for the last few days of my raw food detox, well, tonight’s menu includes a dessert of raw cheesecake and for that, I am truly grateful.





PLANNING ON SPENDING VALENTINE’S DAY IN THE NUDE!

2 02 2011

Amanda Hamilton is planning on spending Valentine’s Day in the nude – at a photoshoot for her husband. So how will she shape up her birthday suit in time?

I am doing something really novel, and frankly terrifying this Valentine’s Day. I arranged a Christmas present for my husband: gift voucher for a photo shoot. So what you say? A nude photo shoot. Oh.

We are ‘shooting’ on Valentine’s Day, mainly so that I can drink copious amounts of champagne to give me some Dutch courage. I had thought it would seem romantic, silly and hopefully, a little sexy. Now I’m living on sheer adrenaline, with a body regime to out-do a Gladiator. I have never been more thankful that I run a spa business. Bootcamp? I’m in. Detox? Why not. Colonic? What the heck.

This is all very far from chocolates and red roses of course. But we all want to feel good on Valentine’s Day, don’t we? A chance to wow your partner, a hot date, or perhaps you’ve simply had one of those reality-check moments and you need a bit of a shake up.

The reality is often a full-throttle, ill-fated crash diet, expensive quick-fixes and fillers, none of which do the job well enough. The folklore of dieting is littered with stories of see-saw loss and gain, monster-sized cravings and side effects of faddy eating restrictions that include bad-breath, dodgy tummies and turning into a bitch from hell. Not pretty and certainly not photo shoot material.

First rule, anyone even thinking about aiming for size zero, do yourself a favour and eat a large box of chocolates, please. For others that have been on the endless hamster wheel of dieting and are ready to jump off, it’s all about strategic eating. Lots of vegetables, twice daily servings of protein such as fish or eggs with good amounts of H2O in between. Oats, millet and brown rice are carbohydrates that will keep you going for longer.

My favourite piece of gym-kit at the moment is the Powerplate, an evil machine that gets you toned in places you didn’t know you had places. It’s over and done with in just 25 minutes. A good trainer can actually make it fun, honestly.

Finally, peachy skin. A good diet is the biggest aspect of this, since it hydrates the skin from the inside out. However, there is nothing like a bit of pampering to make both sexes feel more in the Valentine’s mood. So, book your beloved in for a massage. You could even go for side-by-side treatments. For those willing to experiment, try out my homemade recipe for massage oil – naked of course!

massage oil

The base of every good massage oil is vegetable oil, preferably a variety that is light and nourishing. One of my personal favorites is hazelnut oil. Start with a cupful. Next, add in essential oils such as cinnamon, orange, and ylang ylang. When combined, the aroma-therapeutic power of these oils is said to be magnified. To make your massage oil, mix together the cup of base oil with ten drops of cinnamon, ten drops of orange, and twenty drops of ylang ylang. What you don’t use on Valentine’s Day you should store in a glass container.

Foodies magazine http://ht.ly/3OKJx





I DIDN’T TALK FOR 20 DAYS ONCE, SOMETHING NO DOUBT MY FRIENDS LOVED…

1 02 2011

I DIDN’T talk for 20 days once, something friends would love, I imagine! See Scottish Sun on diet and chilling out and being silent!  http://ht.ly/3NVbd





SPILLING THE BEANS ON DAUGHTER, SON AND COLIC!

23 11 2010





MAKING HEALTHY LIFE EASIER…

10 11 2010

Too busy to go to the gym? Don’t like cooking? Craving a pizza and an easy life?

Sticking to a healthy lifestyle can sometimes become a burden. I have long since ditched the notion of weighing potions and counting calories – it is boring, cumbersome and frankly calorie controlled diets don’t work long term anyway.

SO what are the short cuts you can take to make it easier to get healthier? Here are my top tips that cover everything from cooking, eating out, working out and even what to do in the bedroom….

  1. If you are cooking a healthy meal, ALWAYS double up on ingredients and freeze a potion or two. Home cooked frozen food is great as a back up – take out the freezer in the morning and it just needs re-heated (not in a microwave which destroys many nutrients).
  2. If you are the kind of person that succumbs to mid-afternoon snacking on junk then ditch the caffeine which makes you much more prone to cravings and bring fruit / nuts / seeds with you instead. Keep a stash of healthy snacks in the drawer at work.
  3. When going out for a meal avoid eating the entire bread basket before the starter even comes! You’ll ruin your good intentions and your appetite. Ask them to ‘hold the bread’ and nibble on olives instead.
  4. You have been asked out on a date but don’t want to ditch the diet? Stick to Thia, fish restaurants or experiment with the more unusual Lebanese or Jamican. Avoid Italian, Indian and the greasy spoon should not even get a look in!
  5. Get off the treadmill! If you join a gym, don’t be shy. Ask for help with your gym programme and maximise the knowledge of the staff. If you usually drive to your workout could you jog or cycle instead – a perfect warm up and not nearly as boring as watching the minutes tick by on machines.
  6. Getting frisky is a great way to boost health, wellbeing and confidence, provided it is with the right person! A healthy sex life can add years to your life expectancy – and summer sunshine can bring out the flirt in all of us. It goes without saying that sex must be safe.
  7. After cooking, eating, working out and finding a mate – the next in line is sleep! Not only might you need a good nights rest after a day like that but sleep is when your body rejuvenates. Too little sleep and your immunity will suffer and you age faster. Try going to bed ½ hr to 1hr earlier than normal and see how much better you feel. Goodnight!

About Amanda Hamilton

“Amanda Hamilton is one of Europe’s leading nutritionists and detox specialists, having written two best-selling books and devised and presented the highly popular “Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses” TV series among other TV credits. Her company also runs detox, weight loss, boot camp and health retreats at stunning spa destinations in the UK and abroad, and her highly popular LifeChanging Weight Loss Programme. See more at www.amandahamilton.co.uk and www.amandahamiltonweightloss.com








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.