4 YOGA POSES TO MASTER THIS SUMMER

During the summer, it feels like plans are never ending and a new invite pops up on your calendar every day! Although we usually think of summer as a season of relaxation, these months can get pretty busy – sometimes to the point where you actually have to set aside time for yourself. We love a good Netflix binge as much as the next person, but we’ve also discovered that there are more productive options if you need to de-stress… and, surprise!, you won’t end up feeling like a couch potato after. One of our favorite ways to unwind is by getting active, whether that means taking a walk outside, lifting weights in the gym or hitting the mat for some yoga. Active movement helps to clear your mind and strengthen your body. Plus, it’s a great way to show off your athleisure #AEOSTYLE! Today, we’re grabbing our yoga mats and breaking down four yoga poses to master this summer.

CRESCENT LUNGE (Anjaneyasana):
Alignment Tips: Make sure you’re on the ball of your back foot and that your hips are square. Sometimes it helps to put your hands on your hips and psychically align them so that they’re facing the front wall. Keep your back heel firm on the floor and the back leg strong as if you were trying to touch the back of your knee to the ceiling. To your own degree, bend your front knee as close to 90 degrees as possible. Reach your arms overheard and breath deep.

Benefits: Stretches hip flexors & legs; strengthens thighs and glutes; opens chest; improves balance

Master these 4 yoga poses by the end of summer!

DANCER (Natarajasana):
Alignment Tips: Keep a slight bend in your standing leg & shift weight on to this leg. Bend your back leg up to your degree slowly, simultaneously catching your foot or ankle with one or both hands if possible. You can reach one arm in front to help your balance. Keep your neck long and head high.

Benefits: Improves balance; strengthens legs and core; stretches shoulders and chest

Master these 4 yoga poses by the end of summer!

ONE LEGGED KING PIGEON (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana):
Alignment Tips: Keep your shin on the ground parallel to your mat to protect the knee. Slightly angle your back hip and from a straight leg, bend the back leg up. Catch the ankle or foot with one or both hands, or rest it in your arm as seen below. If you cannot reach back or bend the leg up, that’s fine! support yourself upright using both arms in front.

Benefits: Stretches thighs, chest and shoulders; stimulates abdomen & internal organs

Master these 4 yoga poses by the end of summer!

ONE LEGGED KING PIGEON II (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana II):
Alignment Tips: Start with shins on the floor and core reaching high. Slowly backbend to your degree and catch one leg within your arm as your raise it. Reach the other arm toward the ceiling and breathe. If you need back support, bring your lower hand to your lower back and breathe.

Benefits: Stretches torso and deep hip flexors; improves posture; strengthens back; stimulates abdominal organs

Master these 4 yoga poses by the end of summer!

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10 Life-Changing Reasons to Drink More Water

Has it occurred to you today that you are thirsty? Guess what – by the time you experience the sensation of the thirst, you are already dehydrated. That thirst is your body calling for re-hydration.

Your body is composed of roughly 60% water1. That means when we are dehydrated – and most of us spend our days constantly dehydrated to some degree – we are affecting the performance of the majority of our body.Nearly all of our systems do not function as well without the proper water intake

So, really, what does this mean? Why should we drink more water?

  1. If you don’t drink water, you will die. It’s that important. Depending on our environment, we can live only a few days without water – maybe a week. We can live much longer without food. For most of us, we should prioritize the consumption of water far more than we currently do.
  2. Prevent cancer. Yes, that’s right – various research says staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon cancer by 45%5, bladder cancer by 50%6, and possibly reduce breast cancer risk as well.7
  3. Be less cranky. Research says dehydration can affect your mood and make you grumpy and confused.3 Think clearer and be happier by drinking more water.
  4. Perform better. Proper hydration contributes to increased athletic performance. Water composes 75% of our muscle tissue!4 Dehydration can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance.
  5. Lose weight. Sometimes we think we are hungry, when actually we are thirsty. Our body just starts turning on all the alarms when we ignore it. For those of you trying to drop some pounds, staying hydrated can serve as an appetite suppressant and help with weight loss.
  6. Have less joint pain. Drinking water can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated. This is actually how glucosamine helps reduce joint pain, by aiding in cartilage’s absorption of water.
  7. Flush out waste and bacteria. Our digestive system needs water to function properly. Waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat. If we don’t drink water, we don’t flush out waste and it collects in our body causing a myriad of problems. Also combined with fiber, water can cure constipation.
  8. Prevent headaches. Sometimes headaches can be caused by dehydration, so drinking water can prevent or alleviate that nasty head pain. Next time your head hurts, try drinking water.
  9. Make your skin glow. Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the color and texture of your skin by keeping it building new cells properly. Drinking water also helps the skin do it’s job of regulating the body’s temperature through sweating.2
  10. Feed your body. Water is essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body. Water serves at the body’s transportation system and when we are dehydrated things just can’t get around as well.

 

Quick rules of thumb for drinking water:

  • Drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water (if you weight 160lbs, drink 80oz of water each day).
  • Carry a bottle everywhere with you as a reminder to keep drinking.
  • Eat raw fruits and vegetables – they are dense in water. You can get water from food, not just from beverages.
  • Drink water and other fluids until you urinate frequently and with light color.

Tennis and Chiropractic

To become as good a tennis player as Andy Murray take many years of dedicated practice and with years and years of practice increases the risk of accumulated injuries.

With Wimbledon comes an upsurge of interest in tennis,we offer some invaluable advice on staying injury free this tennis season.

For two weeks at the end of June, a certain ‘fever’ tends to sweep the country, this being ‘tennis fever’. Tennis is the second most played racket sport in the UK, close to overtaking badminton in popularity, with an estimated 860,000 people playing.

Bedford Chiropractic Clinic will  see an increase in tennis related injuries. Just the same thing happens every year  in the tennis season but with Andy Murray winning even more people will try tennis for the first time.

Playing tennis is a great way to stay physically fit but it requires a variety of physical attributes, including power, endurance, speed, strength, balance, and of course specific playing skills. Compared to other sports, the risk of injury from playing tennis is relatively low, but there are certain factors that increase the risk of an injury that apply to both competitive and social players:

  • Incorrect technique – poor serve and swing technique will increase the chance of injury, particularly to the elbow and wrist. Relying on only the arm to hit the ball, as opposed to the body’s full strength, leads to an incorrect swinging action. A healthy spine able to flex and absorb these heavy twisting loads the discs in the spine can suffer serious injury that can impact everyday life not just sporting ability.
  • Failure to warm up and cool down – warming up / cooling down reduces the risk of muscle and joint injuries, and improves performance.
  • Time spent playing – overexertion is one of the most common causes of injury, and with insufficient rest and recovery time for the body, overuse injuries are more likely to occur.
  • Previous injury – previous injury can lead to similar injuries in the future, especially if you hadn’t taken enough time to fully recover.

When it comes to tennis injuries, they fall into one of two categories; two-thirds of tennis injuries are due to overuse, and the other one-third due to trauma or an acute event such as sudden force or impact. Cumulative, or overuse, injuries most often affect the shoulders, elbows and wrists, with acute injuries affecting the low back, knee or ankle.

Tennis Elbow – the most well-known of all tennis injuries, it is estimated that over 50% of players will suffer with it at some point in their career. It is an overuse injury of the muscles that bend the wrist backwards, from repeated contraction, and can also be caused by improper technique, such as using too much wrist and not enough arm when you hit a backhand shot (faulty backhand follow-through).

Tennis Shoulder – shoulder overuse injuries are usually a result of poor conditioning and strength of the rotatory cuff muscles, a group of muscles at the back of the shoulder. These muscles help to position the shoulder correctly in the socket, and a weakness can cause an increase in ‘play’ of the ball in the socket, irritating the tissues. Tennis shoulder injuries often appear after over-loading the rotator cuff when the muscles are contracting, and are usually caused during the follow-through phase of the serve. These injuries cause pain when the ball makes contact with the racquet during the serve, and cause a decrease in serve velocity.

Tennis Ankle – these injuries fall into the traumatic/acute bracket and are caused by a sudden sideways movement, such as pivoting while making a subtle but rapid change in direction, resulting in twisting or turning the ankle inwards. Playing on a slippery wet surface increases the risk of these types of injuries, as does continuing to play, even when fatigue is overwhelming you.

Low back pain – many tennis players will suffer with low back pain at one time or another. It can be caused by the twisting/rotating movement when trying to hit the ball, the sudden deceleration and changes in direction during a game, or over-extending the back during the serve; this repetitive action places considerable stress on the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the spine, and on the spinal joints themselves. Any accumulation of injury to the discs must be avoided at all times as the discs do not have a blood supply and cannot heal very well. All too often this fact is ignored and the damage accumulated becomes too extensive and permanent disability is the result. Just taking painkillers and waiting for such injuries to heal is a recipe for disaster.

What is a Stress Fracture of the Back?

A stress fracture of the back, or lumbar spine, is one of the more common bone injuries in young tennis players. Lower back stress fractures are usually characterized by an ache in the lower back which is exacerbated by sporting activities and eased by rest, although a small percentage of people with a stress fracture can be pain free. Typically it is sore when the patient bends backwards, particularly if standing on one leg. If a lower back stress fracture is suspected, a chiropractor may decide to refer the patient for a MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis.

What can you do to prevent a Stress Fracture?

Serving in tennis requires a combination of spinal hyper extension (bending back) together with rotation and side bending of the trunk. This puts a lot of stress on an area of the vertebra called the Pars Interarticularis and this is where stress fracture develops.

Practicing the service should be carefully monitored by the coach to ensure the lower back is not being overloaded. This is particulary important in adolescent players who have just experienced a growth spurt as they are known to be more at risk from this injury.

core stability exercises can help prevent back problems in tennis players.

What should you do if you suffer a Stress Fracture of the Back?

In most cases, complete rest from tennis is the treatment of choice. This would usually be for a period of 6 weeks to allow the bone to heal. In the early stages, a soothing ice pack can reduce back pain and alleviate back pain. During this period, a progressive exercise programme may commence, under the supervision of a qualified chiropractor. This usually starts with exercises to increase the muscular stability in the lower back.

Research has shown that a lack of muscular stability in the lumbar and pelvic regions can lead to low back pain and stress fractures. The principle behind this is that if certain specific muscles can be recruited or contracted, the spine will have much better support. This prevents postural faults which can predispose a person to back pain.

Spine injuries common in young tennis players

Elite tennis players in their teens appear to have a very high rate of lower spine injury, a 2007  study suggests. Although the subjects in this study did not have symptoms, the researchers point out that these injuries will probably progress to more serious conditions if training techniques are not modified. As with common back problems because it doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean that a problem doesn’t exit.

The British researchers found that of 33 elite-level tennis players they examined, 85 percent had some sort of abnormality in the lower spine. Damage to the joints at the back of the spine, stress fractures and herniated discs were among the problems seen on MRI scans.

Tennis players’ careers depend largely on how well they perform at the junior level, the study authors note in their report, published online by the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

This means that during their growth spurt years, young athletes are going through frequent and intense training that can raise their risk of injury.

Tennis involves constant spinal movements — like quick twists and backward arching — that can account for the injuries seen in this study, according to the authors, led by Dr. David Connell of the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital.

The findings are based on 18 male and 15 female athletes training at a UK national tennis center. None complained of any back pain, but using MRI scans, Connell’s team found that only five players had normal exam results.

The most common abnormality was facet joint arthropathy, damage to joints at the back of the spine that are involved in backward arching. A full 70 percent of the players showed this problem; in contrast, studies of middle-aged adults in the general population have found that 8 percent to 21 percent of symptom-free people have facet joint arthropathy, demonstrating that spinal wear and tear is not painful until we then overload already weakened joints.

In addition, the researchers found, more than one quarter of the players had sustained stress fractures in bone structures at the back of the spine, while nearly 40 percent had herniated spinal discs.

It’s important to spot such abnormalities, they conclude, so that training can be modified to prevent the problem from worsening.

SOURCE: British Journal of Sports Medicine, July 19, 2007 online.

When looking at ways to help avoid tennis injuries, we can split it into 5 key areas:

Environment:

  • avoid playing on hard surface courts with no ‘give’, such as cement, asphalt or synthetic courts.
  • inspect the court for holes/cracks that may trip you up.
  • ensure the court is well lit if playing at night.
  • avoid playing in extreme weather conditions.
  • never play on a wet court.
  • clean off leaves, debris, loose balls etc. from the court.

Dress:

  • wear shoes specifically designed for tennis that support the heel and prevent ankle rolling, choose tennis shoes with skid-resistant soles and high arch supports.
  • consider wearing heel inserts or specially padded tennis socks to absorb the shock when playing on hard services to protect the lower back.

Equipment:

  • see a professional to select a racquet that is the appropriate size and weight, and one that suits your skill level; too light or heavy will increase the risk of shoulder/elbow injuries.
  • a flexible racquet with a larger head is gentler on the arm as the flexion absorbs some of the shock, spreading it over a longer period; this helps to prevent a tennis elbow injury.
  • low string tension is better on the arm as it increases the dwell time of the ball on the strings.
  • thinner strings are more elastic and have better shock-absorbing capacities, making them better for the arm.
  • a grip that is too small or large will increase the risk of an elbow injury as the player has to grip the racquet too tightly to prevent it from twisting.
  • never play with wet tennis balls, especially if you have had a previous shoulder/arm injury.
  • avoid old or low-pressure balls; aim to replace them as soon as they start to lose their bounce.

Preparation:

  • working on stretching and toning your arm muscles off the court will guard against injury; swimming is a good way to achieve this.
  • warm up gently, increase your heart rate with a slow jog or jumping jacks.
  • slowly stretch muscles to improve joint range of motion, and promote elasticity in the ligaments and tendons; hold stretches for 30 seconds.
  • start slowly, hitting a few balls to your opponent; serve several times until the shoulder feels looser.
  • be sure to cool down with stretches after playing to prevent stiff and sore muscles and joints.

Technique:

  • take lessons from a qualified coach to develop skills and technique.
  • when serving/hitting overhead, avoid over-arching the lower back; bend your knees and raise your heels instead, so the upper body weight is evenly balanced.
  • avoid landing on the ball of the foot as this can lead to an Achilles’ tendon injury.
  • hitting the ball in front of the body makes it easier to fully use the shoulder and trunk.
  • forearm muscles are better able to handle the shock if the wrist is held straight when the ball impacts the racquet.
  • use the forearm for control, and the shoulder/trunk for strength.
  • use the other arm for balance with one-handed backhand.
  • in the event of a previous injury or weakness to the elbow, try a two-handed backhand. If you sustain an injury on the tennis court, the best plan of action is to stop playing and seek the appropriate advice and treatment.
  • Chiropractors, whilst best known for treating spinal injuries, are also trained in treating all of the other joints of the body, including the shoulder, elbow and wrist. If you get gripped with tennis fever, and even with following these hints and tips, you still sustain an injury of your muscles, bones or joints, chiropractic may have the answer.

Our New Activator 5!

Hi! Dr Sandhu here, hope you have all recovered from the excitement from last night, what an incredible display of the power of our weather. I must say I’m really excited as I have just received my brand new Activator 5! Another example of our continual drive to give the best chiropractic adjust possible to our patients!

The Activator Method is one of the most widely-researched chiropractic techniques and the only instrument adjusting technique with clinical trials to support its efficacy. Activator Methods has published hundreds of clinical and scientific peer-reviewed papers, worked with major academic research institutions, and received grants from recognized entities like the National Institutes of Health.

Activator 5

  • Utilizes a force wave that allows deeper penetration of the force without discomfort to the patient.
  • Recognized for superior control of speed, force, and direction of thrust.
  • Perfect for use on the more tender areas of the body, due to the light, pre-load spring.
  • Ideal for treating Cervicals, TMJ, Children, Geriatrics, and small body frames utilizing the #1 setting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out our website http://www.thebedfordchiropractor.co.uk

 

Pain is NOT a good indicator of health

Painpain 2

Spring Detox Yoga Flow

Spring has arrived and many of us are ready for some spring-cleaning not just for our homes but for our minds and bodies as well.

Spring is the perfect time of the year to clean our closets, clear out things we not longer use so we have room for new things to come. Spring is the ideal time to renew and to cleanse our bodies too.

Our bodies have a natural of getting rid of waste products, but sometimes it needs help to boost eliminating these products.

I invite you to try these simple yoga detox practice that can help your body cleanse itself.

In addition, you can try a all natural 3-5 day juice detox along with yoga practices (I suggest mixing active with some restorative practices) to receive a maximum cleansing process and enjoy the benefits of your efforts. This combination will help you feel more energized, lighter and healthier.

While cleansing, fasting and detox practices may not be for everyone, anyone can benefit from a yoga detox program. Especially if you’ve been feeling sluggish or are experiencing digestion problems, have a lack of stamina, poor concentration, aches and pains, or skin problems.

So are you ready to flow, sweat, play and detox with this short but effective flow?

Start by sitting in a comfortable position… Please keep in mind that you can add any vinyasa of your choice to move between poses:

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Seated Twist:

Inhale and lift arms up and interlace your fingers while rotating your palms up to the sky. As you exhale rotate your torso to one side. Be mindful that your hips don’t twist with you. You want the twist to come from your spine without the assistance of your hips. Inhale center and exhale to the other side. Repeat few more times on each side.

cat-cow-and-child-yoga-pose

Cat/ Cow with Simhasa Breath:

Come to hands and knees (aka table top). For this practice we will reverse the breath so as you inhale round the spine and as you exhale arch your back and stick your tongue out as you exhale through your mouth.

This type of breathing is very cleansing and relieves tension in the chest and face. According to traditional texts, Simhasana destroys disease and facilitates the three major bandhas (Mula, Jalandhara, Uddiyana).

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Surya Namaskar/ Sun Salutations “A” and “B”:

Moving through few rounds  each of these wonderful namaskars will help you generate internal heat while coordinating breath and movement.

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Navasana (Boat Pose):

Great core work to build core strength and heat in your body. When we work our core we are also activating our digestive and elimination system. Practice this pose 3 times holding it each time for 5 full breaths. To rest between each cycle you can bring the soles of the feet together and fold forward into Baddha Konasana.

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Parivritta Utkatasana (Revolved Chair Pose):

From chair pose or Utkatasana, bring your hands to heart center and exhale twist to one side. Bring the elbow to the outside of the thigh as you press the palms together to help you twist form the spine. Make sure that your knees are even and one is not forward of the other. This will indicate that you are collapsing on one hip and the twist is not coming from the spine. In addition your hips should be lower than shoulders. Hold for 5 full breaths before going to the other side. Finish by folding over your legs in Uttanasana or standing forward fold.

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Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1):

From down dog bring one leg forward placing your foot between your hands. On the inhalation lift the chest and arms up. Make sure your front knee is over your ankle and that your back leg is active and strong. Extend the arms up to the sky and hold for 5 breaths.

parsvottanasana

Parsvottanasana or Pyramid Pose:

From Warrior 1 extend the front leg and as you exhale fold over the leg bringing the hands to the earth. Keep the hips even or leveled as you create lighten in the spine. Anchor the big toe mound on the mat and you engage your quads to protect the knee from hyper extending or locking as you stretch your hamstrings.

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Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle):

This is another twisting pose that will not only activate your internal organs but will help you cleanse from the inside out. It is like a wet towel that you ring out as you twist it. You can add a connecting vinyasa to do the other side. After completing both sides come to a sited position.

 

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Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold):

Extend both legs forward. You can sit on top of a folded blanket, grab a strap and/or bend your knees slightly if you feel you hips are rolling back (posterior tilt) and/or your hamstrings are tight. Exhale fold over your legs while elongating the spine. Imagine you are trying to reach your feet with the crown of your head. Hold for few breaths. Forward Bends compress the abdominal organs and the kidneys and liver are stimulated. They help improve the digestive system and activate the elimination process as well.

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Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose):

Lie down on your back, bend your knees and draw feet towards your butt. Draw shoulder blades towards each other and as you inhale lift hips up while pressing down on your feet. Keep feet hip width apart and parallel to each other while keeping the toes pointed forward. Hold for few breaths then lower hips down one vertebrae at the time. You can let the knees drop to one side then to the other few times to release any tension in the spine

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Apanasana (Wind Relieving Pose): Bring both knees to the chest and cross your arm over or under your legs and give your self a big hug. If you like you can lift your head towards your knees and the lower head back down keeping shoulders relaxed and neck long. Hold for few breaths and the release.

viparita-karani-supportive

Viparita Karani or Legs up The Wall:

For this pose you will need a blanket or bolster against the wall. Start with your support about 5 to 6 inches away from the wall specially if you know your hamstring are tight or closer if you know they wont be an issue. Sit sideways on right end of the support, with your right side against the wall. Bend your knees, press your feet into the wall and lift your pelvis off the support a few inches, tuck the support a little higher up under your pelvis, then lower your pelvis onto the support again. Extend the legs up towards the ceiling. Open your arms out to the side palms up while letting your shoulder blades move away from the spine.

Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. To come out, slide off the support onto the floor before turning to the side and then to sitting.

Pause for few breaths in here before continuing with your day.

Drink plenty of water to help your body continue with the cleansing process.

WORLD VEGAN DAY

To celebrate WORLD VEGAN DAY here are some delicious vegan recipes to try out!

Sakale chipslt and Cinnamon Chips                                    

Ingredients

  • 12 large whole kale leaves , (200g)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon                                  Method

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6.
Rinse and dry the kale leaves before removing most of the centre stalk, leaving long, thin pieces of kale.

Toss the kale in the oil, then sprinkle with the sugar, cinnamon and ½ tablespoon of sea salt.
Arrange the leaves in a single layer on a couple of baking trays and bake for 5 minutes, until crisp.
Transfer the kale to a rack to cool, then serve.

Wild rice & Brussels sprout super salad

saladIngredients

  • 300 g mixed wild rice
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 500 g Brussels sprouts
  • 8 radishes
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 large bunch of mixed soft fresh herbs, such as mint, parsley, basil
  • 1 large handful of dried cranberries or raisins
  • extra virgin olive oil                                                   Method                                                               Cook the wild rice according to the packet instructions, then drain and leave to cool on a large tray. Peel the onions, then using a mandolin (or a food processor with a fine slicing attachment), finely slice them. Transfer to a bowl and add the red wine vinegar. Scrunch them together and set aside.

Using a mandolin, shred the sprouts and radishes, then, in a bowl, dress them with the lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt, massaging the flavors into the veg with your hands. Set aside.
Pick and finely chop the herb leaves and pop them into a large serving bowl. Add the rice, onions and lemony veg as well as the cranberries or raisins, and toss together.
Drizzle over some oil and season, then stir and serve.

Spiced Plum Chutney

“If you’re not a fan of jams, this is a lovely way to use up plums, and it’s a joy to eat with a ploughman’s lunch! ”
plum chutnry

Ingredients

4 shallots
1 kg mixed plums
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 fresh bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
400 g brown sugar
1 orange
300 ml cider vinegar

Method

Prepare a 500ml pickling jar by washing the jar and lid, removing the rubber seal. Place in the oven and heat at 100ºC/gas ¼ for about 30 minutes. Immerse the rubber seal in a pan of boiling water and simmer for about 10 minutes before turning off the heat and allowing to cool.

Peel and finely slice the shallots, then destone and roughly chop the plums. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan that’s big enough to hold all the ingredients. Add the shallots and cook gently over a low heat until softened and golden-brown. Add the bay leaves and spices, fry for a minute, then stir in the plums. Add the sugar and grate in the orange zest.

Squeeze the orange juice into a measuring jug and top up to the 450ml mark with cider vinegar. Add to the pan and bring to the boil, then simmer slowly until most of the water has evaporated and the chutney is reduced and thick, stirring now and then as it cooks.

Pat the jar seal dry with kitchen paper, fit it back onto the lid and have the jar standing by. Spoon the chutney into the sterilised jar while everything’s still nice and hot. Wipe the rim of the jar and seal it. Leave to cool and store in a cupboard for a few weeks before eating

Sicilian roasted cauliflower & Brussels sprouts

“Bulk up your traditional Brussels sprouts with some cauliflower – the spice and roasting brings out their natural sweetness ”caulif

Ingredients

50 g pine nuts
1 large head of cauliflower
300 g Brussel sprouts
50 g raisins
12 strands of saffron
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp garlic oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Place the pine nuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven until golden, set aside to cool down.

Trim the outer leaves and base from the cauliflower then cut into small florets. Trim the ends from the Brussels sprouts and slice in half, keeping hold of the loose leaves. Cover the raisins in boiling water, leave for about 20 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Place the cauliflower florets and sprouts in a large roasting pan, scatter over the saffron threads then pour over the olive and garlic oils. Season well and mix together gently. Roast for 25–30 minutes, until the florets and sprouts are tender and starting to caramelise. You may find that the loose sprout leaves start to really crisp up; don’t be alarmed, it adds a lovely smoky element to the overall flavour.

Transfer the roasted cauliflower and sprouts to a serving bowl; add the pine nuts and raisins, season to taste then give the whole mixture a gentle stir to ensure everything is combined and coated in the saffron oil, and then serve.

Vegan Nut roast

“Being vegan doesn’t mean compromising on flavour, as this recipe proves. Crunchy and full of spices, everyone will be tucking in ”

nut roastIngredients

  • 50 g pine nuts , plus extra for decorating
  • 50 g linseed
  • 50 g sunflower seeds
  • 100 g unsweetened chestnut purée
  • 50 g gluten-free vegetarian suet
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • gluten-flour for dusting
  • For the spinach topping:
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 300 g chestnut mushrooms , sliced
  • 260 g baby leaf spinach , or frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 100 g silken tofu
  • 1 pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/4 sweet potato
  • Olive oil

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Spread out the nuts and seeds on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5–6 minutes. Transfer to a food processor, along with the chestnut purée, suet and maple syrup, and blitz until it comes together into a ball. It will be sticky to begin with, so stop and scrape the sides as you go.

2. Place a large sheet of baking parchment on a work surface and sit the dough on it. Then, with lots of gluten-free flour on your hands and rolling pin, roll out the dough as thinly as possible (less than 5mm).

3. If you’re making individual tartlets, oil and flour four 10cm loose-bottomed tart tins, then cut the pastry to size. For 1 large tart, roll out the dough and cut to the size of a large, shallow baking tin, and transfer to the tin using a fish slice. Prick the pastry all over with a fork, cover with baking parchment, fill with baking beans or rice and bake blind for 12–15 minutes. Leave to cool in the tray, and keep the oven on.

4. Meanwhile, make the topping. Heat 1 tbsp rapeseed oil in a pan over a medium heat, then sauté the mushrooms for 6–8 minutes, until golden. Remove and set aside.

5. In the same pan, heat the rest of the oil and wilt the spinach (or heat through if frozen) along with the pepper. Blitz the spinach, avocado flesh, tofu, nutmeg and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth.

6. Thinly slice the sweet potato using a vegetable peeler or mandolin, creating a pile of peelings. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a small pan, then fry the peelings over a high heat, turning occasionally, for 4–5 minutes, until just turning crisp.

7. Assemble the tart by spreading the spinach mixture over the baked and cooled tart base. Lay the mushrooms on top, and decorate with the sweet potato slivers and a scattering of toasted pine nuts. Eat heated or at room temperature, with potatoes and vegetables.

Keep an eye out on our blog, there will be more recipes to come!!

Stress Awareness Day

The modern world is becoming increasingly complex, and the demands on our time and attention are many. Our jobs are also more complex, and the business world has become more competitive. With the industrial age came helpful machines and increased productivity, but it also brought us the jackhammer, the loudspeaker, the motorcycle and car, and innumerable noisy machines. Physical stresses such as sound, air and water pollution have worsened over the last century, especially in the United States. We are also, because of electronic media and the Internet, aware of troubles and tragedies around the world that previous generations would never have known about, creating anxiety. Taken together, these assaults on our senses create a physical and emotional reaction.

The word for this overwhelming feeling is stress. It’s a term borrowed from the field of engineering, in reference to physical forces upon mechanical structures. The term was first used in its modern medical sense around the turn of the 20th century by Walter Cannon, a Harvard physiologist. Cannon also first described the “fight or flight” syndrome, and noted the damaging physical effects of a continuous stress response. Modern healthcare is increasingly recognizing that many illnesses are caused by stress, or worsened by stress. In fact, in every chiropractic office, many patients will show the ravages of chronic stress. While chiropractic can treat the effects of stress on the body, such as headaches, it can also help the body manage and process stress in a healthy way.

The different factors that create stress:

Physical Stress

A whiplash injury from a c
ar accident is an obvious source of physical stress. As is repetitive motions, a slip and fall, lack of sleep or overdoing it in the garden. Early on, learning to walk, ride a bike and the birth process itself are sources of physical stress.

It’s not the stressphysical stress—it’s your reaction to it that matters!

Accumulated stress exhausts our reserves. Then, something as simple as mowing the lawn can put us over the edge. Chiropractic care helps restore your adaptive capacity.

 

Emotional Stress

Fear, grief, anger and other emotions affect our entire body. Notice the posture of someone who isemotional stress sad or depressed. Frustration, or a sense of powerlessness at work, is a common form of emotional stress.

Clearly, it’s not the stress, but our response to it that is critical. Chiropractic care, because its focus is to reduce tension to your nervous system, can help you respond more resourcefully.

 

Chemical Stress

Common sources of chemical stress include poor nutrition, sugar, refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. Drugs, preservatives, tobacco, alcohol, vaccinations, pollen and a host of other substances also affect our nervous systems, muscle tone and our spine.

The problem isn’t the pollen or chemical stresschemical. Because not everyone reacts. Symptoms can appear when you lose your ability to adapt. Chiropractic care has helped millions reduce or eliminate reactions to many types of chemical stress

If you lack the reserves to adapt to stress in a healthy way, it takes a toll. If your body reacts by “tripping a circuit breaker,” causing vertebral subluxation, chiropractic care is likely to help.

Martini caption: Clearly, chemical stress can affect our muscle tone, coordination and the way our nervous system works.

 

How can stress affect my spine?

Think of your spinal cord as a guitar string. The greater the tension, the higher the note. Your nervous system has “tone” as well. With each stressor, your body tightens up, like bracing yourself for a tight curve on a roller coaster. The weakest joints of your spine are forced out of their normal position. Like the shrill notes from an over-tightened string, your body loses its capacity to respond to the full range of human experience. And ill health can result.

Effects of Stress on Health

Stress, whether physical or perceived, triggers a fight or flight response. This is a systemic physical reaction, affecting almost every part of the body. The hypothalamus, a part of the brain, stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The heart rate increases, blood volume and blood pressure increase, blood is directed away from digestion and the extremities. Vision becomes more focused, hearing more acute. In response to the messages from the SNS, the adrenal glands secrete corticoids, including adrenaline, epinephrine and norepinephrine. All of this is very useful if we’re running from a prehistoric raptor, or confronting a more modern threat to physical safety. When prolonged, however, the long-term effects of this state can be disastrous to good health.

Many studies of people who have been subjected to chronic stress have found evidence of the negative health effects of stress. These effects include high blood pressure, damage to muscle tissue, diabetes, infertility, damage to the immune response, and slowed healing from disease and injury. Stress reactions are also at the root of disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and stress has been linked in human and animal research with cardiovascular disease.

Chiropractic Treatment and Stress

Chiropractors work primarily with the spine, the root of the nervous system through which nerve impulses travel from the brain to the rest of the body. One effect of chronic stress is prolonged muscle tension and contraction. This muscle tension creates uneven pressures on the bony structures of the body, often leading the misalignment of the spinal column, known as subluxations in the Palmer tradition of chiropractic.

Chronic stress also leads to nerve irritation. The adjustments of a chiropractor release muscle tension, and that helps the body return to a more balanced, relaxed state. Adjustments also reduce spinal nerve irritation, and improve blood circulation. These changes may be enough, in many cases, to convince the brain to turn off the fight or flight response, beginning the process of healing. A healthy and balanced spine is one key to effectively managing stress.

Dr Sandhu has been studying nutrition and other therapies for stress. Several nutritional supplements, including B vitamins, help the body cope with stress. As can relaxation techniques, coupled with posture and environmental changes to help recovery from chronic stress.

Unfortunately we cannot make a job less stressful, or create a quieter, calmer world. What chiropractic treatment can do is help you develop healthy responses to stress, reducing potential physical damage.

Chiropractic is based on the concept that given the opportunity, the mind and body can heal itself. In relieving some of the effects of chronic stress, chiropractic care provides just such an opportunity. So why not get yourself booked in for an initial consultation for only 10 and let’s see what we can do.

Understanding Supplement Quality

Tips for Choosing Food Supplements

There are many reasons that you may choose to take food supplements and if you are reading food labels and think that the quality of your food is important, then it is crucial to know that not all food supplements are created equal.

I will cover what to look for when choosing supplements but people might ask why we need to take supplements at all as it should be enough just to eat a ‘well balanced diet’.

I think the ‘well balanced diet’ is a myth and nowadays food supplements are an important addition to your diet.

We have problems with our food in that it does not contain the nutrients that it used to. When compared to the 1930s, the fruits and vegetables we eat contain an average of 20% fewer minerals (magnesium 24%, calcium 46%, iron 27% and zinc 59%). The meat and dairy products are also depleted in nutrients with iron being depleted in meat by 47%, 60% in milk and calcium loss in cheese up to 70% for Parmesan cheese (The Independent Food Commission’s Food Magazine 2005).

Food, especially fruits and vegetables, can be flown hundreds of miles and may have been sitting in warehouses for days before being delivered to the shops and this will further cause the nutrients to be depleted.

How to take supplements

I would suggest that you always have a multivitamin and mineral as the foundation of your supplement programme. Choose the multi depending on your age, sex and what stage you are in your life. So you would choose a different multi if you are trying to get pregnant than if you want a multi for your general health and you would choose a different one if you are going through the menopause. Because you have different nutritional needs at different ages and stages of your life, you can use food supplements, along with a healthy diet, to help you meet those needs.

I would suggest you take a vitamin C supplement alongside the multi as there is never enough vitamin C in a multi and use a separate Omega 3 supplement as well. So these three products would form the basis of a good maintenance supplement programme.

What should you be looking for when choosing  a food supplement?

You really do get what you pay for when buying supplements so it is worth choosing the best that you can afford.

Here are some useful tips to know what you are looking for on the label of a food supplement.

Always buy capsules instead of tablets

Your digestive system has to work harder to release the nutrients from a tablet as binders are used to compress the ingredients into a solid shape. In comparison, with a capsule your digestive system just has to dissolve the capsule in order to release the nutrients. Apart from tablets being harder to break down and digest, the binders can be substances that you are aiming to avoid in your foods. Binder can include sucrose, lactose, sugar alcohols like sorbitol or synthetic polymers like polyethylene glycol.

Choose vegetarian capsules

If a supplement just says gelatine capsules then the gelatine is made from cow or pig gelatine. Gelatine is produced by boiling skin, ligaments, tendons or bones of the animal.

I would consider vegetarian capsules to be a healthier option than these gelatine capsules which are made from the discarded remains from the slaughterhouses.

You can buy Omega 3 fish oil supplements where the capsules are made from fish gelatine rather than cow or pig and it will be clear on the container that this is the case.

Look at the form of the nutrients

Not all forms of the same nutrient are absorbed and used in your body in the same way. For instance, not all calciums are the same. As well as looking to see what nutrients are contained in the supplement e.g. calcium, zinc, vitamin B6, you also want to know what form those nutrients are in.

The form of the nutrient will determine how well you will absorb the nutrient and how effective they can be.

  • Avoid minerals in the form of oxides, sulphates, chlorides and carbonates. These are inorganic forms of these minerals and are more difficult to absorb and so your body has to work harder to get the benefit from them. In this context, inorganic means that these are geological forms of these minerals, ie they come from the ground. Calcium carbonate is chalk and is mined from the ground. Organic minerals are in the form that they are found in plants and are more easily absorbed. When we eat plants we are eating minerals in their organic form. If you have ever taken iron as ferrous sulphate then you know that it can cause black stools or constipation. This is because ferrous sulphate (iron sulphate) is an inorganic form of iron and you only absorb about 2-10% of iron from this type of iron supplement. The effect on your bowels is because the iron is being eliminated and not being absorbed efficiently.
  • Y ou want to choose minerals in their organic forms such as citrates or ascorbates. So choose calcium in form of calcium which is almost 30% more absorbable than calcium carbonate. This is the same for all the minerals not just calcium. Choose magnesium as magnesium citrate. You could take 300mg of magnesium in the form of magnesium oxide (an inorganic mineral) and absorb maybe 6% of the magnesium but if you take 300mg of magnesium as magnesium citrate you can absorb up to 90%
  • With vitamin E choose the form that says d-alpha-tocopherol, as this is the natural version of vitamin E. Dl-alpha-tocopherol is the synthetic version and is not so easily absorbed.
  • Choose vitamin B6 as pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P). This is the active form of B6 which your body can use. If you choose a supplement where the B6 is in the form of pyridoxine (which is a much cheaper form) your body has to convert it into P-5-P in order to get the benefit. If you are run down, tired or stressed then your body may not be able to make this conversion from pyridoxine to P-5-P and so you do not get the benefit of this important vitamin.
  • Always make sure that the vitamin D is in the form of D3 also called cholecalciferol. There is a cheaper form called D2 (ergocalciferol) but it is not as beneficial as D3 in correcting deficiencies in your body, in fact research has suggested that vitamin D3 is 87% more effective at raising and maintaining your level than vitamin D2. Researchers have said that ‘the assumption that vitamins D2 and D3 have equal nutritional value is probably wrong and should be reconsidered’.
  • With vitamin C choose the ascorbate form which is alkaline rather than the acidic form as ascorbic acid. The ascorbate form is much gentler on your digestive system and it will be clear on the label as to what form the vitamin C is in and will say magnesium ascorbate.
  • Avoid probiotic drinks as they can be high in sugar. Instead, go for a supplement that does not contain maltodextrin (which is rapidly converted to glucose so has a high GI and can affect blood sugar levels). Research suggests that maltodextrin could ‘suppress intestinal anti-microbial defense mechanisms and may be an environmental priming factor for the development of chronic inflammatory disease’. Also if the probiotic is a liquid it will need a preservative to stop if going off, this is often potassium sorbate. It’s easier if you use a probiotic that is freeze dried as it won’t need refrigerating so you can take it with you when you travel to prevent digestive upsets.
  • With fish oils, don’t just look at the amount of fish oil which might say 1,000mg. The most important piece of information is the amount of EPA and DHA that the supplement contains which may be on the back of the label. You are aiming for 770mg EPA and 510mg DHA per day. It is also important to have the oil from the body of the fish rather than from the liver as in cod liver oil capsules. Fish absorb toxins and chemicals and oil taken from the liver – the organ of detoxification – is likely to have higher quantities of these. A while back a number of companies had to take their cod liver oil supplements off the market as they contained very high levels of toxins called dioxins. Cod liver oil will also contain high levels of vitamin A which is not recommended during pregnancy. Also try and make sure that the Omega 3 fish oil you choose uses wild fish (not farmed) and small fish such as anchovies and sardines. Large fish like tuna can contain high levels of mercury.

Omega 3 oils

I am going to explain Omega 3 oils in more detail as there has been a lot of confusion around this subject. I mentioned in the previous section that you should check the amount of EPA and DHA within the supplement you are buying, but there is also something else that you need to check and that is the form of the Omega 3 oil.

Are you confused by all the different Omega 3 oils on the market and the different strengths?

You may be surprised to know that not all Omega 3 oils are the same and the difference is really important to your health.

There are three different main forms you can find Omega 3 oils in:

  • Triglyceride
  • Ethyl esters
  • Phospholipid

The form in which you absorb omega 3s from eating oily fish is in the triglyceride form  so this is the most natural version. Over 98% of all fats are in this triglyceride form.

Some fish oil companies use the ethyl ester forms which means the oils are in their synthetic state and in alcohol. Ethyl esters are the cheapest form to produce but they are also the least bio-available meaning that they are harder to absorb. As your body usually ingests fats in the triglyceride form it means that if you take in an oil in the ethyl ester form your body has to rebuild this fat back into a triglyceride.

Research has shown that the triglyceride fish oils are better absorbed than the ethyl ester forms. Ethyl esters are also less stable than triglyceride fish oils and so can oxidise creating free radicals.

In nature, none of the fish oils is in the ethyl ester form so we need to take in fish oil in the same form as we would eat them in the fish i.e. as triglycerides.

So between triglyceride and ethyl esters form of Omega 3 fish oil, it is clear that the triglyceride form is better.

The controversy starts when we look at the comparison between the triglyceride and phospholipid forms.

This has come to the forefront now because of the publicity around krill oil as a source of Omega 3 and it is suggested that krill oil is more superior as it is in the phospholipid form.

A study in 2013 suggested that krill oil could be more effective than fish oil in improving Omega 3 levels and reducing the Omega 6 to 3 ratioand then in 2014 researchers suggested that this study was flawed because the scientists did not use a typical fish oil (which is high in Omega 3) but a fish oil high in linoleic acid which is an Omega 6 fatty acid. So it was understandable that if you compare two oils (krill and one high in Omega 6) that the krill will increase the Omega 3 levels and improve the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio if the other oil is high in Omega 6 in the first place.

The scientists made this comment ‘Due to the fatty acid profile being non-representative of typically commercially marketed fish oil, the conclusions presented by Rasmprasath et al are not justified and misleading. Considerable care is needed in ensuring that such comparative trials do not use inappropriate ingredients’.

More fuel was added to this controversy in 2014 when research re-examined the studies which have looked at the bioavailability of krill oil. They point out that it has proven difficult to compare the bioavailability of krill oil versus fish oil because of the lower concentrations of both EPA and DHA in krill oil compared to fish oil. They point to other factors that have made it difficult to compare the two and conclude ‘that there is at present no evidence for greater bioavailability of krill oil versus fish oil’.

The levels of EPA and DHA in krill oil are very low and if the krill oil is not more bioavailable ie absorbable than fish oil as the research shows then the levels are not high enough. Just to give you an example:

One krill oil supplement in 2 capsules contains:

Krill oil      2000mg

Omega 3  440mg

EPA          240mg

DHA          110mg

Whereas NHP’s Omega 3 Support fish oil I use in the Glenville Nutrition Clinics,  2 capsules contains:

Fish oil      2347mg

Omega 3   1400mg

EPA           770mg

DHA          510mg

One well known supplement company who sells krill oil, has now ‘fortified’ (their words) their krill oil supplement with fish oil on their ‘nutritionists’ advice’. As they feel that the jury is still out on krill oil. It just makes more sense to take fish oil in the first place and not krill.

My other concern around krill is that it is not a fish but a crustacean and the bottom of the food chain for so many animals including whales, fish, seals and seabirds. It seems that the whole Antarctic ecosystem revolves around krill. I had also understood that the natural foods store Whole Foods Market took krill oil off its shelves in 2010, because of the decline in certain sea animals, whales, penguins and seals where the krill is harvested.

So when the levels of EPA and DHA in krill oil are so low and the absorption is not better than fish then I would suggest that it makes more sense for us to get our Omega 3 oils from further up the food chain.

Read the Label

I know many of you are keen label readers when it comes to your food and drink which is brilliant but you need to do the same when choosing supplements. The ingredient list on supplements may not always be obvious and could be at the bottom of a box.

And, as with food don’t get seduced by the hype on the front or a long list of impressivesounding nutrients. What else has been added to this supplement? There could be added sugar, artificial sweeteners, fructose, colourings, flavourings, and glucose.  More may be added if the supplement is chewable or fizzy to make it more palatable.

You could have chosen a capsule instead of a tablet but there may be other ingredients added which you may not have been aware of before. These are called excipients and are non-active ingredients with no nutritional value to you added inside the supplement capsule. You only want the active ingredients like the vitamins and minerals that have bought the supplement for.

There may be obvious ones as above like the colourings and sweeteners. But other ingredients are added to most capsules on the market which are only there for the manufacturers benefit not yours.

They can be lubricants, anti-caking agents, disintegrants, fillers or bulking agents and many of these excipients as they are called, make the supplements faster and easier to manufacture and so are cheaper for the companies to make.

Without lubricants and anti-caking agents the manufacturing process has to be slowed down to allow the nutrients to flow into the capsules. This actually presents a huge challenge for a lot of manufacturers so most supplement companies on the market will just have these non-active, non-nutrients added into the capsules. Also when the machinery is slowed down, less heat is generated and this is beneficial when dealing  with natural ingredients like herbs and enzymes.

Also when these excipients are added to the supplements this means that there is less space for the active nutrients because the lubricants and anti-caking agents are taking up that space. Also supplement companies are not required to list the amount of excipients in the supplement so you can’t see how much of the inactive ingredients there are compared to the active nutrients you really want.

Excipients can include magnesium stearate, titanium dioxide, talc, calcium hydrogen phosphate dehydrate, stearic acid.

My preferred range of supplements is from The Natural Health Practice. I was invited to help formulate them so know they meet all the considerations detailed in this report and can recommend and use them with confidence throughout the Glenville Nutrition Clinics.

All the NHP supplements are in capsules (no tablets) and contain only the nutrients themselves.

All ingredients are:

1 In their most bio-available form to aid absorption

2 Hypoallergenic – free from sugar, gluten, starch, wheat, yeast, soya and dairy products

3 Made without the use of artificial flavours, colours or preservatives

4 There are no fillers, binders, anti-caking agents, lubricants, artificial sweeteners etc.

5 Contained in vegetable capsules (excluding Omega 3 Fish Oil which is in fish gelatine)

6 Vegetarian Society approved (excluding Omega 3 Fish Oil)

7 Kosher approved

Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD   

Cooking for Two: Cheap and Healthy Meals for You and Your Boo

Cooking for Two: 34 Cheap and Healthy Meals for You and Your Boo!

 Valentine’s Day or not, cooking for two can be a tricky skill to master. While leftovers are practical, eating Crock Pot chili five nights in a row can get pretty old. These recipes—from breakfast and starters to dinner and dessert—are perfect to enjoy with your girlfriend, boyfriend, mom, dad, friend, or dog (… if your dog eats human food). Each meal is perfectly portioned for two, so grab a sous chef and get cooking!

BREAKFAST

1. Crab, Asparagus, and Avocado Omelet

This omelet kills it with the presentation. It’s stuffed with fresh lump crabmeat, asparagus, and tomato, then topped with avocado slices and an ample amount of hot sauce. It’s so good, you won’t even miss the cheese. If you don’t have fresh crab on hand (or you’re allergic to shellfish), try smoked salmon instead.omellete

2. Coconut Milk Scones With Rhubarb Compote

Decadent and sweet, this breakfast recipe is healthier than traditional scones and easily customizable for any palate. The vegan dough subs creamy coconut milk for butter and lemon zest infuses each bite. A homemade maple-rhubarb compote takes just minutes to sconesmake, but any jam or fresh fruit would pair well.

3. Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame

A Parisian staple, the Croque Monsier is basically a fancier, French version of grilled cheese, made with with Gruyere cheese, ham, and creamy béchamel sauce. When the sandwich is served with a poached egg on top, it’s called a Croque Madame. This recipe makes for a lighter final product, thanks to skim milk and half and half-based béchamel sauce.egg on toast

4. Minimalist Banana-Nut Muffins

Both hearty and healthy, this recipe produces two monster-sized vegan muffins made with wholesome ingredients. These babies get bonus nutrition points for the whole-wheat pastry flour, ground flaxseed, omega-3 rich walnuts, and half a banana in each muffin.banana

5. Rustic Cinnamon Rolls

Ditch the Pillsbury can and opt for DIY cinnamon rolls for two with a way healthier Greek yogurt icing. Crunchy outside and doughy inside, these honeyed breakfast treats taste like the sinful version but focus more on the cinnamon flavor than 12 sticks of butter or powdered sugar-based frosting.cinnamon-rolls-rustic-rough-wooden-table-festive-dessert-38910388

6. Asparagus Egg Bake

This recipe is perfect for when you’ve only got a few eggs on hand but could really go for something more than just scrambled or over easy. While just about any veggies would work, this bake sticks to asparagus and chives. Pair with whole-wheat English muffins to add a healthy dose of fiber to the meal.baked-eggs-asparagus-1-050513

7. Whole-Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Made with filling whole-wheat flour, these muffins will tide you over until lunchtime. Fresh or frozen blueberries—known for high levels of the antioxidant anthocyanins—keep the muffins moist.Whole-Wheat-Blueberry-Muffins-For-Two-chocolateandcarrots.com-GLE-1377

8. Veggie Tofu Scramble

With nearly 25 grams of protein per portion and nearly every veggie you’ve got hiding in the fridge, this scramble is a nutrition rock star. Though tofu may not be your cup of tea, cooking the budget-friendly protein source just like scrambled eggs is a great way to mask the funky texture while adding tons of flavor. Scramble it up with peppers, kale, and onions, top with avocado, and you’ve got yourself a lean, mean breakfast.7843341346_c60db2dfd3_c

9. Egg in a Heart

Simple and satisfying, this two-ingredient breakfast requires a couple of eggs, some whole-wheat bread, and a little creativity. Use a heart cookie cutter (or any other shape) to remove the middle of each slice, and then crack an egg in the opening. Leave it as is or top with avocado and tomato slices.download (8)

APPETIZERS/SALADS

10. Salad Lyonnais

Nothing warms up a boring old salad like a fried egg and bacon. Top frisee (or any other salad green) with bacon strips, Dijon mustard, chives, a little salt and pepper, and an egg for a satisfying way to start your meal.SaladLyonnaise_2

11. Ratatouille for Two

Since ratatouille gained popularity after the 2007 Pixar movie of the same name, roasted veggies have never looked so good. This version layers thinly sliced vegetables—zucchini, squash, and eggplant—in a beautiful spiral design. To season, stick to the basics with dried herbs, olive oil, and salt and pepper.12193750456_691804522f_c

12. Barbecue Portobello Quesadillas

Smoky and sweet, these whole-wheat quesadillas have a lot more going for them than simply layering cheese between tortillas. A combination of barbecue sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, and chipotle chili pepper season cooked mushrooms and onion, while a little shredded Monterey Jack cheese holds it all together.MV6819

13. Pan-Seared Thai Tuna Salad

Prepare your taste buds, ‘cus it’s about to get spicy. This salad combines an Asian-inspired slaw of cucumber, cabbage, and carrots with pan-seared tuna. Fresh orange slices balance out the spiciness from Sriracha hot sauce.thai-tuna-ck-1880015-x

15. Taco Salad With Creamy Cilantro Dressing

This hearty salad easily qualifies as a main course. Both quinoa and beans provide protein, while avocado supplies healthy monounsaturated fat to help keep you fuller than most veggie-based salads.518c6c8974c5b627910000ec._w.540_s.fit_

16. Mini Caprese Salads                                                                                                            Served with a pesto-y dressing, this mini salad for two is actually made up of mini ingredients. That’s right: mini cherry tomatoes, tiny mozzarella balls, and itty-bitty basil leaves make for maximum cuteness.1 IMG_1028 (1)

DINNER

17. Peanutty Quinoa Bowls

Topped with savory soy and maple baked tofu, these quinoa bowls get double the protein. A homemade peanut sauce goes on top with steamed broccoli, red pepper, chopped roasted peanuts, and freshly grated ginger.PeanuttyTofu_2

18. Sage-Brined Pork Chops With Brown Sugar Glaze

Thanks to a sage-infused brine and a sweet brown sugar glaze, these pork chops lock in juiciness and pack some serious flavor. Plan ahead on this one—you’ll need a few hours to let the pork brine (or marinate in a salt water solution to keep meat from drying out) in the refrigerator.50a9d040d9127e1d59001985._w.540_h.540_s.fit_

19. Whiskey-Glazed Salmon With Mango Habanero Chutney

With multiple uses for a bottle of Jack Daniels—from treating the symptoms of a head cold to brushing one’s teeth—it just feels right to marinate salmon for a sweet and smoky glaze. Top the meal with an easy mango habanero chutney.IMG_4559

20. Super Simple Lemon-Rosemary Chicken

With just six ingredients (five of which you likely have in the pantry already) this easy date night dish is a cinch. Skip the skins if you’d like to tone down both calorie and sodium intake.  lemon-rosemary-chicken

21. Sautéed Beef With Onions Over Creamy Polenta

This quick, homey meal is perfect for when it’s chilly out. Lemon- and garlic-marinated strips of beef and red onion compliment polenta—or cornmeal cooked into a comforting, porridge-like consistency.

Beef Stir Fry over Polenta

22. Seared Shrimp Vindaloo With Vegetables

With carrots, broccoli, onions, garlic, wilted kale, and collard greens, this dinner blends just about every veggie from the produce drawer. Shrimp and vindaloo seasoning—a mix of turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, cayenne, and other spices—finish off the meal.vind8-537x800

23. Chicken Caprese

While we’ve got a Caprese salad on this list, this is a much more substantial version with baked chicken as the base. Thick slices of fresh buffalo mozzarella, halved cherry tomatoes, and chopped basil make for a light, Italian-inspired meal.Caprese-Chicken-1-sm

25. Broccoli, Brie, and Walnut Rotini

This rich dish combines walnuts, broccoli, and creamy brie cheese. It can be customized with whatever nuts or veggies you prefer. With only five ingredients and a combined prep and cook time of just 15 minutes, this meal is as uncomplicated as it gets.broccolibriewalnutrotini

26. Mediterranean Stuffed Red Peppers

While traditional stuffed peppers have a ground meat filling, this version uses the super grain bulgur (which has more fiber per cup than quinoa, oats, millet, buckwheat, and corn). Feta, mint, pine nuts, and fennel bring Mediterranean flavors to the dish.IMG_9715

DESSERT

27. Cardamom Almond Pear Crisps

A couple of ramekins, a couple of pears, and you’ve got yourselves two perfectly portioned desserts. These crisps are vegan, flourless, low in sugar, and gluten-free. The oat– and almond-based topping is nutty and sweet with just a touch of maple syrup.IMG_8048

28. Healthier Individual Carrot Cakes

Grain-free and nut-free, these cute cakes are made of two unconventional but healthy flours: chickpea and sunflower. To achieve the classic carrot cake flavor profile, the recipe includes carrots, raisins, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. The sweet but tangy frosting is made up of goat cheese and maple syrup.c55

29. “Fried” Ice Cream

So the “fried” part of this dessert is a bit of a fib. While this ice cream has all the traditional ingredients necessary for the fried version, there’s no giant vat of hot oil (or messy melting for that matter). Just scoop your favorite flavor into balls then coat them in the Corn Flake crumb mixture. Drizzle with warm chocolate sauce and you’ve got yourself an easy, decadent, and slightly healthier way to end a meal.FriedIceCream1finalforsite

30. Vanilla Cupcakes With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

These cupcakes are just 160 calories a pop. Do you really need more convincing? With unsweetened applesauce in the batter and a lightened lemon cream cheese frosting, there’s no lack of flavor. Top with a few fresh blueberries or blackberries and you’ve got the perfect package.

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31. Espresso Brownies

For those times you’d rather not whip up a full batch of brownies, this recipe makes just two in record time. A teaspoon of espresso powder adds an element of surprise and intensifies the chocolaty flavor.

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