5 Tips to a Healthier You

It’s not a diet!  That’s a good place to start.  Beginning to lead a healthier lifestyle is about making small changes that will help to create a better version of you - a happier you!  It's not about deprivation or pushing yourself too hard.  It's not about drastically losing weight and trying to achieve an unrealistic body goal.  Choose the battles that you can win – I'll never be that 5ft11 Brazilian Victoria’s Secret model, but I can be a happy and healthy (shorter) blonde.

1. It’s a walk in the park

It's simple. Get active! You don’t need to join a gym or pay a personal trainer; you can begin by going for a twenty minute walk every day.  I am lucky enough to have a little furry friend, Bruiser, who enjoys going for a walk in the park as much as I do.  The great thing about going to the park is that it's wallet friendly, local and the air is cleaner! Using an app to track the distance and speed you walk every day is a great way to monitor how active you are being (and will make you feel guilty if you don’t exercise).

Bruiser thinks it's a walk in the park...

2. Low Calorie Alternatives

Achieving a healthier lifestyle is about making slow and small changes.  If you take pleasure drinking high-sugar drinks, you don’t need to forbid yourself from having them altogether, you just need to find a low calorie alternative that removes the guilt.  So instead of guzzling extra calories through drinks like cola and lemonade, change your habit to enjoying something more refreshing, low-calorie and sparkling.  This week I enjoyed a new range from Ballygowan – ‘Sparklingly Fruity’.  These drinks are low in sugar and calories (only 23 calories per can) and come in a variety of delectable flavours; my favourite was the Apple, Elderflower & Lemon! Making the change to this low calorie, fresh drink allows you to still get a hit of sparkle and enjoyment, while keeping hydrated!

Sipping on Ballygowan's 'Sparklingly Fruity'

3. Snack Creatively

Eating healthily is not boring, it’s the opposite.  It opens you up to a world of new ingredients that you’ve previously ignored.  Put together refreshingly different ideas on how to combine these ingredients to make low calorie snacks.  In my latest recipe, I made Edible Flower & Elderflower Ice Lollies’  An interesting alternative to a bag of salty crisps?

4. Organise yourself fit!

Without shopping for the right food, planning your daily meals and prepping your food, you set yourself up for failure!  Failing to plan, is planning to fat!  If you open the fridge and feel daunted, not knowing what to cook, the likelihood of eating junk food or takeaway food will be much higher.  Don’t make food shopping into a horrible weekly task.  Make it fun!  I love to go to local markets and buy fresh and seasonal produce – I normally plan meals based around what I find.

5. Digital Detox

I find ‘unplugging’ the hardest thing to do.  I need to force myself to wind down and unfortunately for me this doesn’t involve Instagram or Netflix.  With the majority of our days spent glued to laptops, tablets and smart phones, it can become difficult to disconnect.  To unplug, take some time to yourself – try meditating for 20 minutes, enjoy a relaxing hour of yoga, watch a sunset – anything that gives you a moment to breathe and reconnect with new, healthier you.

Santorini sunsets

Santorini sunsets

Fi x

Welcome to Gluten Free Fi

People often begin their gluten free stories with inspiring tales of motivation.  My story is quite different, it begins with years of denial, an addiction to all things gluten-filled and the horror of being diagnosed as a coeliac.  No bread ever again, not a problem, right?  Wrong. 

As many people know, supermarkets have the ‘delightful’ idea of pumping out the smell of freshly baked bread to entice people further into the store.  As a result, my first shopping trip as a coeliac was comparable to a Britney-esque meltdown.  I tiptoed past the doughnuts, averting my eyes from my old comforting friends and crawled past the bread aisle (with tears in my eyes) commando-style, on a one woman mission reluctantly heading for the ‘free from’ aisle.

What the doctor didn’t tell me about the array of gluten free foods is that they are often also ‘free from’ flavour and jam-packed with preservatives, which give them a longer shelf life.  I imagine they want to keep the products on the shelf for as long as possible, awaiting the next recently diagnosed coeliac to visit the aisle wide-eyed and ready to buy one of everything.  This is when my motivation kick started.  I made the decision to avoid this type of food and to only give it consideration if a bomb shelter was on the cards for my next DIY project.  I didn’t need to eat these foods anymore to prove to myself that I could still eat cakes and breads; I decided to make them myself.

Trying to cope with the stress of being coeliac

Trying to cope with the stress of being coeliac

I have always been a foodie and love to cook, it is my passion.  This love developed when I was five years old and used to make ‘recipes’ with my best friend, Fiona (yes, another one).  These recipes normally consisted of flour (of the gluten variety), water and green food colouring…not to be included in this blog.  Trial and error has played a huge part in creating some delicious recipes and well, let’s face it, some disasters (my boyfriend now shudders when someone mentions a ‘Vietnamese Spring Roll’…sorry).  On a positive note, my exploration into gluten free cookery has reignited my interest in nutrition. 

The deadly combination of being a balanced Libra with a ‘Type A’ personality makes coping with this allergy that bit more of a struggle.  This isn’t something that is easy, but it does get easier.  After following my gluten free diet for just over a year, that sluggish feeling that I felt permanently and the agony I went through every day is a distant memory.  I feel energetic, I feel happy.  I love the food that I cook.

This change has been the best I have ever made in my life. 

Please join me on my road to discovery…

GF Fi x