What does exercise mean to you? 

I work with a lot of people who see exercising as a real challenge and something that only very fit people seem to be able to adhere to. Exercise to many is joining a gym, which some people find boring or not particularly enjoyable. Often the idea of exercise musters up unhealthy ideas about body image and what a fit person should ideally look like aesthetically. When really exercise should be about keeping a healthy mind and body through movement. Healthy comes in all shapes, sizes and forms. And the way you keep yourself healthy should be something that works for you.

I like to bring it back to basics. Activity. I always ask patients/clients “what activities have you been doing?”. Activities can mean anything from a walk along the beach with the dog and the family, gardening, painting your living room, to a 20 minute hiit session in the garden. Just make sure you move! Of course, there are some that want to push themselves and set themselves goals to push themselves further. Great stuff! But I also urge those that get very little activity in to their lives from one week to the next to just start small. Start small and build up. Go for a walk and some fresh air in your lunch break, go for a swim, take a walk with the kids to the park. Just keep moving and find something you enjoy. Keep your mobility going and keep your energy up and try to adhere to it. I work with someone who has arthritis in one of his knees which makes a lot of exercise very difficult, this summer he’s discovered kayaking. He cannot get enough of kayaking, and has been going three or four times a week.

I’ve personally had a very busy summer and the autumn/winter looks like it’s heading the same way. This means my running and yoga tends to be the things that get reduced in my schedule. This is something that really frustrates me but often I’m just juggling too many balls (desperately wanted a better phrase here). But one thing I never remove is walks with my little Amelie and my Oli. When Amelie was a baby we would go for walks with her in the pouch (baby carrier) or the buggy. Sometimes we would do this every day, sometimes just a few times a week. So when running and all the other crazy sports/hobbies I’ve tried over the years were out of the question, walking was always something I could do and enjoy. This has just been our ritual ever since. Amelie loves going for walks and exploring. Come summer, autumn, winter, spring, our walks are always constant. Don’t get my wrong there are times when she likes to have a little carry (as per picture above) but she’s getting far too big for this now, something she refuses to accept.

So, I’ve set myself a few little goals to keep me active and keep me smiling. One is a winter 10k run with friends (we get a medal AND a mince pie at the end) and one is a yoga challenge to keep my practise consistent. So book some time in your schedule, do something ACTIVE, keep your body moving!! Don’t let the autumn/winter season keep you from doing your activities.

Love,

Lea xx

Creamy Pistachio Chilli Dip

 

So it’s January 2nd 2017 and like many others I have a few thoughts and feelings on how I would like the new year to go. I don’t really do resolutions as such, I just try to focus my mind on a few intentions for the new year. So one of my intentions is to focus more time on my blog. I really enjoy sharing healthy and nutritious recipes with you guys but my life is quite hectic and busy at the moment (who’s isn’t) and all my sharing seems to focus on my Instagram page as it’s a bit more instantanious. The trouble is I’m not a photographer and I don’t have a decent camera and social media is filled with perfectly shot pictures of food that looks really tasty and appetising. I literally share what I’ve been cooking, baking, blending and eating day-to-day. So if you can forgive some rubbish photography I think I can dedicate more time to sharing more recipes with you lovely lot. This platform for sharing healthy, wholesome and tasty food really has changed my life. I love being inspired by others and hope I inspire a few others.

Any way, back to this dip I made for lunch today. So it’s post Christmas and New Year and somehow I managed to get my butt off the sofa and go for a run this morning. Which was actually really lovely, very cold,but lovely. I love running but anything can put me off. Cold, rain, too hot, anything! Feeling energised and productive post run I then went and did a fresh food shop and stocked up on lots of fruits and veggies. When it came to making the lunch I really fancied making my favourite dip as it’s so fresh and tangy and full of flavour. Stupidly I realised I didn’t actually buy all the ingredients I needed for it. D’oh. So I decided to improvise and this is what I concocted.

Ingredients

90-100g Unsalted deshelled pistachios (I had a 100g bag but accidentally ate a few)

5 heaped tablespoons of creme fraiche

1 garlic clove crushed or finely chopped

1 lemon (squeezed juice)

Half a red chilli finely chopped (if you like hot food add the whole thing, why not)

Handful of spinach

Salt and Pepper

Method

First, blend all the pistachios in a food processor. Then add the chilli along with the spinach, crushed garlic and squeeze half the lemon in to the processor and blitz. Once that is nicely combined add the creme fraiche and squeeze a little bit more lemon in to the mix with a dash of salt and pepper and blitz one final time. Pour the mixtire into a bowl and put in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to set. That is literally it. So simple. So tasty. I had mine with some spelt and sunflower seed bread and a side of cucumber, tomoatoes and celery in a little olive oil and squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper to taste.

This will last two days in an air tight container in the fridge. You could easily take this in a little tupperware pot and put in the fridge at work for lunchtime.

So I’ll save the original version of this dip for another blog post in the near future! In the meantime please let me know if there is anything else you would like me to blog about – food, health, exercise, lifestyle, children, advice and I’ll do my best to fulfill your request. If you do make this dip please tag me @naturallea on Instagram, Twitter (I am on Facebook but neglected for a while) and hastag #eatnaturallea. I would love to know how you found it and of course see your beautiful pics. And finally HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I really hope 2017 is filled with magic, adventure, love and laughter for each and every one of you 💖

Love Lea xx

Keeping On Track

 

The summer has finally decided to make an appearance and inevitably we’re going for lovely days out to seaside towns, having picnics in parks and wearing less clothes! Year on year I hear phrases like “beach body ready” and “no carbs before Marbs” which I totally understand. It’s incredibly daunting living in a country with months and months of dark, cold, wet weather where we cover every inch of skin on our bodies in coats and jumpers; then suddenly we’re in Tenerife in a bikini! Or we unexpectedly get 32 degree heat here in the UK and we’re forced to wear shorts. Unless you’re my partner who wears shorts 365 days a year. Apparently his legs don’t get cold.

So, I think where I’m going with this blog post is that getting motivation to exercise shouldn’t purely be for aesthetics. It’s so important to keep your mind and body healthy and a great way to do that is through exercise. Find something that works for you and that you enjoy. If you live an incredibly stressful and busy life stuck inside all day try and find the balance. Tell yourself you’re going to put your headphones on and power walk somewhere beautiful or where you can clear your head twice a week in your lunch break and then maybe a swim before or after work. Perhaps a cycle at the weekend? Or if you have young children and it’s impossible to leave the house without them, there are some fantastic workouts online you can follow in your living room. You can find vloggers on Youtube posting yoga flows, hiit workouts and other great exercises to get you moving and stretching. Other things to consider is taking up a hobby that you can do with your children. Maybe learn to play tennis as a family so that you can all get out in the fresh air and get some exercise together. You don’t have to have a gym membership to feel like you’re capable of keeping active. I don’t have a gym membership anymore. My life is so sporadic these days I need to pick and chose when I can and can’t exercise. I tend to mix it up with going out for a run or workouts at home in my garden with hiit sessions, weights and also some yoga on my mat. I also sometimes buddy up with a friend and do a workout together in a park, on the beach or one of our gardens. Committing to a workout with a friend makes it harder to cancel if you feel like you can’t be arsed and you’d rather sit on the sofa with Netflix and ice-cream. There’s a time and a place for Netflix and ice-cream, find the balance.

You have to try to keep yourself motivated. The only person that can do that is you. No amount of scrolling through images on Instagram or in magazines will truly keep you motivated, real motivation comes from within. You need to take a look at your lifestyle and see where the imbalances are. Perhaps you go out too much and you could benefit from a night in alcohol free and a soothing yoga flow before bed. Perhaps you really aren’t very active at all so you would be best off starting with some fresh air and walking to get you out and moving. Last night we took ourselves off to the beach for an evening walk. We took off our shoes and put our feet in the sea and felt the sand (and stones) under our feet. We talked about the electrolytes in the ground and how they were keeping us calm and restoring balance – definitely one to Google guys! We could have sat on the sofa watching TV all evening but we decided it would be a waste of a beautiful evening and we felt we needed to get out and get moving.

Enjoy this beautiful weather and use it as a catalyst to get out and get active! Not for a beach body, not for a wedding but for you. Release those endorphins and feel like a Goddess/God!!

Love

Lea x