Month: November 2012

Did Social Media Make Us Healthier?

Before I get to the bulk of the post, I just want to check on how everyone did in Nutritious November? Did you all try for at least SOME of the time to get your 10 fruits & vegetables a day in? I certainly did and am in no hurry to change things now. I realise that 10-a-day is completely do-able and in fact very easy and incidentally extremely tasty! I’ve been having one juice every day, which adds a few F&V to the total, and throughout this month I have definitely noticed my skin feeling smoother, tighter and less liable to break-outs. So I am declaring Nutritious November a success!!! Hurrah for fruits & vegetables and long may I continue getting my 300+ of them every month.

Social MediaNow, what I want to know is, did social media make us healthier? I mean, you’re reading this now, and if you’re subscribed to this blog or have stumbled upon it and are reading it then I’m guessing you have at least a passing interest in keeping healthy, if not a great obsession with it (like me, ha ha). And what is a blog? It’s a form of social media. I write, you read, you maybe comment, we interact, it’s sociable!

When I started getting more and more interested in becoming fitter and healthier 2-3 years ago I wasn’t making many appearances on Facebook, it honestly didn’t interest me that much, as I was only viewing my ‘news feed’ (which is the stuff your ‘friends’ post). But most of this ‘news’ was so uninteresting and inconsequential to me, like did I really need to know that so-and-so had gone to bed at 9pm last night, or that such-a-body had enjoyed their dinner?! No not really!!! But as I later found out, there is much more to Facebook than what your friends are up to.

Enter Facebook Groups and ‘Like’ Pages.

After I started working out to the Tracy Anderson Method DVDs, I searched online for information about my new favourite thing and encountered a couple of Facebook ‘Groups’, which I then joined, to talk about our shared interest. Through these pages I found out so much information, met a few nice girls (one of whom lives locally and I now count as a real life, in person, true friend) and I think enhanced my understanding of not only Tracy Anderson’s practices, but about other things fitness- and nutrition-related too. Through one or more contacts in these groups I managed to broaden my horizons and joined another couple of groups, this time of girls who were not only doing the Method but also trying other fitness programs.

As you probably know, the power of social media is immense, and before long this effect snowballed and I bumped into lots of very interesting and some knowledgeable people. Soon enough I was socialising in circles of people interested in lifting weights and clean eating. Today I choose a weights-based strength training program that really shapes my muscles, but I only came round to this way of training again via the various channels of social media. As you know, I am a big advocate of clean eating and this helps show off the new shape I have created for myself. In all honesty I would’ve NEVER written Easy Tasty Clean (my recipe book on clean eating) if I hadn’t ventured onto Facebook, joined those Groups and met so many people with a common interest. The rest, as they say, is history.

Through Facebook Groups and ‘Like’ Pages and other tools such as people’s blogs, Pinterest boards and health & fitness websites, I truly feel like I have access to such an immense knowledge of this area of interest that I could not have even dreamt of, had I not made my first tentative venture into that first Facebook Group. I’m now so interested in health, food, fitness and all things related that not only have I written my own recipe book, but I am also studying to become a fully qualified Nutritionist. I can only attribute these things to the power of social media and the internet in stimulating my interest to a deeper level. So, I conclude that I truly believe that:

Social Media has made us healthier!!!

It has me anyway.

What’s your view on how the internet influences our everyday lives today? Do you do things today that you didn’t do a few years ago, just because you have found friends with common interests through social media or the internet as a whole? Do you think the internet is a good thing or does it make us do things we wouldn’t normally do (and I don’t mean lose the ability to interact verbally!), and therefore are we not the people we would’ve been had we NOT had the social media play a part in our lives? Who can say.

Either way, I think the internet is here to stay, whether in its current form or the unknown guise of tomorrow, so we had better embrace it and use it to our advantage, however that may be.

Have a great weekend, and tomorrow I will be back as have a surprise for you all, which might just help out with the Christmas shopping.

Keep up the good work!



To Juice Or To Blend – That Is The Question

The other day I was involved in a discussion comparing juicing to blending (aka smoothies) and which was best. I carefully considered both points of view and for me personally, I felt that blending was better. Let me tell you how I came to this conclusion and what thoughts I’ve had since that are maybe challenging my opinions.

I used to juice A LOT ! And I mean every day. I was a fruit-juice-aholic for a good couple of years about 7 or 8 years ago. My favourite juice involved apples & oranges with various other inclusions such as strawberries, melon or blueberries. I loved the creaminess that the pith of the oranges gave to the juice, and the juice was always a taste sensation, no matter what went into it. At the time I was struggling with irritable bowel issues and thought that juicing would help ease the symptoms by cleansing my colon. I think I would’ve juiced even more, had I not found the whole thing quite expensive, as you pack a helluvalot of fruit/veg into a single juice drink.

So the discussion the other day got me to thinking why I prefer blending my fruits & vegetables these days, and I argued that it was firstly so I didn’t lose all the fibre that is contained in the peel and the internals of the fruits & veggies, but secondly I argued that a lot of the nutrients were contained in or just beneath the skin of fruits, so I didn’t want to waste that. After having done some more reading into this, I still believe both these points to be true, but maybe juicing does actually extract the nutrients more than I thought, as it literally pushes all the goodness out of the produce, just leaving the fibrous pulp behind.

Since then I’ve been thinking about juicing more, and how lovely it is, the smooth, fresh juice, not a lump or bit of stringy pith in sight, so so pure. So what’s a girl to do when she longs after those juicing days again? JUICE! That’s what!

So today, I thought I’d make the most simple juice of all out of 2 small apples, 2 large carrots, an orange and half a lemon. Only the orange and lemon were half-peeled before being added to the juicer (I like some of the bitterness of the citrus peel to come through in the juice), and what I got was a sumptuous, deeply coloured juice, that tasted out of this world. Here it is.

But then I saw all the leftovers sat there, looking so colourful and perfectly finely shredded. I put them on the scales and weighed them. Guess how much? An unbelievable 300g (11 oz) of ‘waste’ to produce one 300ml drink!!! I felt uncomfortable at the thought of disposing of all this amazing fibre and vitamins. I pondered over them then thought, wait a minute, I can use these. So I modified one of my clean cake recipes and produced a lovely carrot and orange cake, using up almost all the ‘waste’ from the juicing. So I still get all my vitamins AND my fibre! Win win!

So maybe my opinion of juicing has shifted from being a somewhat wasteful process that loses lots of valuable fibre and nutrients, to one that embraces the whole of the foods and tries to use them in a way that gains the very most out of them. Maybe juicing offers the best of both worlds. I think if you can use all parts of the fruits & vegetables that you juice then you truly are getting one hell of a nutritious deal. I’ve watched a few YouTube videos of juicing recipes and juicer reviews, and the great thing is that you can literally put the whole fruit or vegetable in the juicer. No need for peeling. Even the seemingly tough outer of a pineapple can be just put straight through the juicer (after washing well!), so you really are getting the WHOLE fruit and all its nutrients. That can’t be a bad thing at all.

I think juicing may become more of a permanent fixture and maybe my beloved thick, green smoothies will have to make way for some more delicate but oh so delicious juices instead. I just have one dilemma now, which fruits & vegetables to buy next that will work well in the juicer… what are your favourites??? I do want to incorporate more vegetables so as to avoid a sugar overload, so I will be experimenting with a few in the near future. I might even post a recipe or two if I find a particularly amazing combo.

One last thing, apparently you get the most nutrients out of your juice if you drink it within 15 minutes of juicing, but I found a secret weapon to extend the life of my juices today, it’s a set of vacuum-seal containers, specially made for this purpose, that will keep the juice in it’s original condition for 2-3 days. This is perfect for me as I like to juice every couple of days and take one out of the fridge first thing in the morning to wake my system up. Here are those very containers. Click the picture to find out more on the seller’s website (UK site).

On a last note, keeping with the theme of fruits & vegetables… how’s everyone doing with Nutritious November? Are we all still hitting 10-a-day? I certainly am, and the juicing will only help me to achieve this further!

Enjoy a great, healthy week!