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Green+Aquamarine: October 2015

Friday, 30 October 2015

Autumnal Pumpkin and Root Veg Soup

Halloween is well and truly on our doorsteps and knocking on our doors already, which can only herald the move to heartier, wintery foods. I have so far managed to avoid the lure of pumpkin spiced everything, but have been finding more savoury flavours for my squash decidedly tempting. I recently found a recipe for a pumpkin and lentil stew and really loved the idea so tweaked the recipe into a soup and incorporated some of the other season's produce. Luckily, the veg box that I have just started ordering is full of such local goodies, including some that I wouldn't always buy. Since I'm not quite ready to embrace the full winter season, I have spiced the flavours up to include lime and coconut milk. It is a little different to the traditional British autumnal flavours, but trust me, they lift the soup up to another level. I used butternut squash instead of pumpkin, as squashes tend to be much more flavoursome, but if you still want something to carve for the 31st, try harlequin or acorn squash, which are both spherical varieties.
Autumnal pumpkin, lentil and root vegetable soup. Perfect for fall, and for healthy on a budget. Via @eleanormayc

Ingredients - serves 4

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 medium parsnip
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 300g red lentils
  • 1.5 ltrs vegetable stock
  • 600g squash or pumpkin, peeled and seeds removed
  • 1.5 ltrs vegetable stock
  • olive oil
  • lime
  • coconut milk or cream
  • Handful parsley, finely chopped
Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a large saucepan over and medium heat, roughly chop the onion and add to the pan. Cover, and allow to sauté until translucent. Meanwhile, chop the carrot and parsnip into small pieces before adding to the pan with the cumin. Cover again, and continue to cook for another five minutes to braze the vegetables. Then, add the lentils and around a litre of the vegetable stock, reserving the rest if needed. Cut the squash or pumpkin into 3cm chunks and add, covering with the lid and allowing to simmer for 30-40 minutes. Season to taste.

Autumnal pumpkin, lentil and root vegetable soup. Perfect for fall, and for healthy on a budget. Via @eleanormayc

When the squash is completely soft, blend the soup up until smooth, adding the extra stock if needed. Return to the hob and stir in the finely chopped parsley before pouring into bowls. Garnish with parsley leaves, squeeze over a 1/4 lime each and pour over a little coconut milk. Serve with good sourdough bread and get ready for a cosy afternoon indoors.

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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Om Yoga Magazine: Yoga Strong

Usually when I receive the new month's issue of Om Yoga Magazine, I read through at least a couple of times before choosing which theme or article to base my post on. This time, however, I knew exactly what to talk about when I flipped the (virtual) page over and saw the stunning title page for Yoga Strong. Recently, I have really begun to appreciate the importance of yoga in building my own strength up, to the point that I value it just as much as weightlifting, if not more. Most, if not all experienced yogis, male or female, often have noticeable arm muscles, and even though their physique is not as ripped as body builders, they have a core strength that few can match. So, it was fantastic to read Lynsey Riach explaining exactly how useful yoga is for building strength.

Om Yoga Magazine, how to become yoga strong via @eleanormayc

Yoga uses bodyweight to build strength; no equipment other than assisting blocks and straps are used. However, it isn't just Chaturanga push ups and holding chair pose that build strength. Next time, look to your balances. By reducing the stability of your base -say, by balancing on one leg in dancer's pose, or on your hands in crane pose, you force your muscles to work to hold you upright. These work lots of muscles rather than just one or two major ones. The result of this is that your maximum "power" increases. Lynsey uses a good example of shot put athletes, who train using a bench press. Maximum ability on the bench press is limited by how much the scapulas can be stabilised. Athletes who practiced yoga poses such as handstands strengthened these stabilising muscles and were able to bench much heavier weights. The result? Further shot put distances.

Om Yoga Magazine, how to become yoga strong via @eleanormayc

Another key element of strength is flexibility. It is very easy to get these two imbalanced -at gymnastics, we were taught that we were inherently either flexible or strong and needed to train to correct this. Someone with poor core strength and a naturally bendy back is at risk of straining the lower back by not properly engaging the muscles associated with the pelvis, subsequently risking injury. Likewise, strength without flexibility also has it's risks. Traditional strengthening exercises have a focus on creating contractions in the muscles. Without proper complimentary stretching, these contractions can lead to shortening of muscles, and a limited range of movement, meaning that exercises cannot be performed properly, or safely.

Om Yoga Magazine, how to become yoga strong via @eleanormayc

Lynsey recommends a selection of six strength-building poses to add to your yoga routine. These poses reduce you stability for maximum benefit, such as the gorgeous plank variation and wild thing poses above. To see the rest of the poses and find out how to get yoga strong, grab yourself an issue! By following the my link below, you can purchase an issue of Om Yoga magazine for £1.99, or start a subscription at a discounted price!

Disclaimer: I am an Affiliated Blogger with Om Yoga Magazine. Each issue I will write a post on an article from the magazine and share it with you. Have a look here to find about the other lovely affiliated bloggers. All photos in this post taken from the Om Yoga magazine. 

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Friday, 23 October 2015

The #100DaysofYoga Challenge

Everyone likes a good challenge every now and again, right? A few times over the last year or so, I have shared stories of fitness, yoga and food challenges that I have undertaken. So far, they have all had one thing in common: someone else has set them. This time, I wanted to do something different; something that is personal and specific to me. I have been promising myself that I will do yoga more often for months now. Over summer, without access to my university gym, I definitely practiced more, and often for longer than I had done so previously. But with the return to lectures and evening commitments, I found my practice lacking again. So, when I read an article by a lady who had just celebrated hitting her mat for 1000 days straight, I was instantly inspired. It sat in my head for a a few weeks until I decided to bite the bullet and start my own challenge, albeit on a slightly smaller scale.

100 days of yoga challenge, set by @eleanormay_c. Follow me on instagram to join in the challenge!

I am currently nine days into my challenge with yoga planned for this afternoon (I started on the 15th and just know that I am going to lose count at some point...) and am really enjoying it. I generally aim to do at least half an hour, but when I have a class or a bit of extra time I practice for longer. Other times, I'll find myself maybe just doing a few rounds of sun salutations, or even just sitting in meditation. I have to admit, I'm not very good at it yet so I either count things I'm grateful for using my mala bead necklace, or concentrate on my breath. It's good for the days where I don't stop until after bed time and gives me a few minutes just to pause and be present. Equally, the fact that I am on the mat more has enabled me to  practice the different styles that I love more frequently -vinyasa, ashtanga and yin.

100 days of yoga challenge, set by @eleanormay_c. Follow me on instagram to join in the challenge!

Unlike most yoga challenges, I'm not setting poses for each day. What happens on the mat is up to me, and to you if you decide to take up a similar challenge. This challenge is about practicing self love, is about committing myself to my practice in whatever way is best for me on the day.There are no prizes or sponsorships and so, I hope, that any motivation isn't based on material gains or ego. If you would like to join me, I would really love to see your practice grow, and see if we can get a group of people committing themselves to that little bit of self love each day. Just use the hashtag #100DaysofYoga and if you'd like, tag me @eleanormay_c on Instagram.

100 days of yoga challenge, set by @eleanormay_c. Follow me on instagram to join in the challenge!

I can't wait to see how my practice grows, and how yours does too!

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Thursday, 15 October 2015

Tricolour Juices for Autumn

I have had so much fun trying out new juice recipes since getting a juicer (see what I think about it here) that I have come up with a traffic light spectrum of recipes. For each recipe, simply add the ingredients in any order.

Alkalising Green Juice

This juice is full of fresh tasting ingredients that help keep your pH levels happy. Variations of this juice are probably what I drink the most!
  • Handful broccoli
  • 2-3 sticks celery
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1/4 lemon
Cleansing Carrot Juice

A friend of mine recommended this recipe to me and it is so tasty! With a fairly simple ingredients list and lots of stomach-settling ingredients, this will keep your immune system boosted and stomach flat.
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1/4 lemon
Autumnal Beetroot Juice

Three traffic cone coloured juices for autumn, via EleanorMayC

Ready to brave beetroot? Start small with this earthy, autumnal juice if you are unused to the taste. Full of carotene and antioxidants, this juice is perfect for crisp, cool days.
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 to 1 whole beetroot, to taste
  • 1/2 inch ginger
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Monday, 12 October 2015

Inspiration: Phoebe Greenacre

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Phoebe Greenacre of Wood and Luxe, a travel blog focussed on all things healthy and luxurious. Phoebe has spent ten years working in digital marketing for travel brands, meaning that she has visited and explored a huge array of countries. She's also a total yogi with a nose for finding a class or studio wherever she is. To keep up with Phoebe, head to her stunning Instagram page. Be warned, you'll be desperate for a holiday after scrolling through!

You travel for work. Where did you wake up today? Today I woke in rainy London! But yesterday I woke up in Marbella & next week I will wake up in Croatia.

What tips would you give to people wishing to travel more, particularly in terms of budgeting? Prioritise your spending. What do you want more? The new pair of yoga leggings, your hair dyed or a return flight to Portugal? If you live to travel, you will want to put that first in your list of priorities. Find other ways to spice up your wardrobe!

Phoebe Greenacre, Wood and Luxe, SUP Yoga

What would you say your favourite type of holiday is- walking, beach, city break? 
Ah this is a hard one as I love loads of different active holidays. I always love to be outdoors & amongst nature. It will definitely be skiing for the winter months & sailing in the summer months. I went sailing with MedSailors this year to Greece & Turkey and it was so much fun! Not a worry in the world, sailing around secluded bays, swimming with turtles  and sleeping on the boat beneath the stars. I love keeping active on my holidays and there is always something outdoorsy to do when sailing. Paddleboarding, swimming & SUP yoga a few of my favourites! 

You mention your love of yoga on your website. When given the option do you have a favourite style, and why?
I'm currently studying to be a vinyasa yoga teacher so I do find myself practicing the vinyasa style. Other than vinyasa, I love yin yoga & also yoga Nidra. These types of yoga help me to balance stress when living in London. 

Phoebe Greenacre, Wood and Luxe, Yoga

Do you have any tips for eating healthily whilst in another country?
I try to stick to a high protein & low carb diet when traveling. But I'm all about balance and trying new things. If you're going to try a local delicacy, just do it in small amounts. 

Have you always been interested in healthy living?
Healthy living has always been at the heart of everything I do. I was brought up with a very strict vegetarian eating habits at home and pretty much nothing came from a packet. I also danced from the age of 5-21 so keeping fit was a priority. My mum is the one to thank for all my good eating habits & introducing me to healthy exercise. I started going to the gym and yoga with her from the age of 15. Things like kale & almond milk were never foreign to me which was a blessing. However, growing up I now appreciate my upbringing so much more. 

Where is your must-see travel destination?
I have so many! I'm up to 38 countries so it's hard to narrow it down. I'll break it down to beach & mountains & monument.
Beach:  This year I visited Kefalonia in Greece which blew my mind. It has beautiful greenery, gorgeous mountains for hiking and some of the most prettiest beaches I've ever seen. And growing up in Australia, I've seen my fair share. 

My favourite mountains are in the south of Germany just two hours outside of Munich. We went hiking for the bank long weekend and the scenery was bliss! It was a beautiful area called Berchtesgaden national park. I will definitely be going back to these two places in the future. 

Hands down it would have to be the Taj Mahal in India. I was gobsmacked by the grand majestic-ness of the structure, energy and vibe of this place. Definitely a must-see in your lifetime.

Phoebe Greenacre, Wood and Luxe, Taj Mahal

Who, or what, inspires you the most?
On a business level it would have to be Tim Ferris. I read his book The Four Hour work week in 2010 and never looked at the 9-5 job the same again. Read it! It won't let you down. 

On an entrepreneur level - Lisa Messenger is my go-to for inspiration. She is the author & publisher of The CollectiveMagazine. Her book Daring & Disruptive is amazing for entrepreneurs wanting to start their own business. And her other book Life & Love is so inspiring about living a life you love & also finding love and working on it everyday.

On a yoga level, it would have to be Rachel Brathen aka @yoga_girl from Instagram. Her mission to share yoga with the world & build an encouraging and strong supportive community is something I'd like to replicate one day. Living in Aruba, teaching yoga & SUP & traveling the world is a dream! 

Phoebe Greenacre, Wood and Luxe, Germany Berchtesgaden

Name a favourite healthy meal. 
My go-to healthy meal is grilled Salmon, steamed greens & sweet potatoes. 

Finally, what makes you happiest?
A packed suitcase, passport in hand & about to embark on an adventure with my partner, friends or family. 

To add to that I'm most happiest when I'm appreciated. Whether that be by my marketing clients, my yoga students or just my boyfriend saying thank you for making dinner. It's the little things that make me happy. 

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Thursday, 8 October 2015

What I Eat in a Week

I thought it was time to revive my Healthy on a Budget series again, but rather than just share a recipe, I thought that I would give you a snapshot into what I eat each week. By the time I have included a couple of extra runs to the supermarket to the weekly shop itself, I find that I spend up to £25 per week. This is a little more than some students, but less than the average, estimated at around £60 for two people. To make things easy for myself, I have a standby shopping list of all the fresh food and cupboard staples that I like to use, and each time a shop I have a look at the list to see what I fancy or what I'm short of. It makes things really easy and reduces the amount of times I need to pick up things that I have forgotten, so removing temptation to buy more stuff! I very rarely have dinners out or buy takeaways when I am at uni, so this is my only big cost each week.

What I eat in a week via @eleanormayc

I do most of my shopping at the supermarket. Morrisons is the closest and as I have to walk back with my bags, that's where I go! When I have time, I like to shop the weekly veg market to support the local sellers, as we don't have a traditional greengrocers. I go to my local health food shop for wholefood cupboard essentials and supplements, organic, local eggs and organic fruit and veg. They always have a box full of beautifully ripe fair-trade bananas, which is so useful!

What I eat in a week via @eleanormayc

I like to focus my shop on the fruit and veg section, with a big list of veggies that I rely upon each week to keep me going. Carrots and courgettes in particular are useful as both can be easily grated into most dishes to bulk them out and to add extra nutrients. I am trying to eat more raw foods, but I really do find cooked meals much more comforting, and often cheaper. Having a few salad staples to add as side dishes, or for juices and smoothies helps with this, fortunately. Next up are handy cupboard ingredients such as tinned tomatoes, pulses and wholegrain carbohydrates. Whilst I am eating as plant-based as possible, particularly in regard to beef and milk-based products, I do buy eggs and cottage cheese to help support my protein intake.

Although I have a fairly long list there, quite a few items last me more than the week or I don't buy every time so in reality, I'm only buying a half or so of the items on the list, plus a few different extras for each week.

Healthy eating on a budget

So what do I like to make with all these? Some of my favourite main meals include pasta in a butternut squash sauce that tastes like macaroni cheese; stir fry with tahini sauce; Moroccan-spiced tagines; sweet potato chips, hummus and salad; hearty stews, lentil bolognese, vegetable and bean chilli.... Lunch is usually leftovers, soup or something-on-toast. This still leaves me with plenty of ingredients for making loaded porridges, smoothies and juices.

Healthy eating on a budget

Healthy eating on a budget

Let me know if you'd like to see more recipes, cupboard staples or food on a budget!

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Monday, 5 October 2015

How to Survive Uni when you're not a Party Animal

There's one thing that you go to university for, and that is drinking. Or... not. Being the one person in my house and wider friendship group who cannot stand clubs kind of gives you an idea of what kind of minority I am in. Now, don't get me wrong, I do like to have a drink or a few, even if my tastes in alcohol have been labelled middle-aged -wine, preferably red, gin and tonic and the odd Bailey's..! Either way, it doesn't really matter; this post isn't to encourage or discourage drinking alcohol. This post is more about your attitude to the partying and clubbing culture in university, and how to still have fun if you'd sooner be in bed than on a sticky dance floor at 3am.

How to survive uni when you're not a party animal via @eleanormayc

It's only a week in to the new semester, and things are already getting busy. My timetable is pretty well loaded, often starting at 9am and not finishing until 6pm with few breaks and a long list of notes and reading to catch up on. On top of this, I am chairing an academic society, squeezing in gym sessions, tidying the house (someone has to!) and keeping this blog running. So, often, like many students come evening I just want to curl up in my room and sleep! However, sometimes we have a greater store of energy, and luckily, you should find lots to do. Most societies are scheduled into evening slots so grab a friend and give some a try. You'll have the option of sports and athletic clubs, hobbies, and academic societies, so you can choose which interest you want to pursue. Depending on how your university funds societies, this is one of the cheapest and often most casual commitments to make, as well as great fun. On another note, take interest in what the local pubs and businesses have on. We have a cafe that transforms itself into a band venue and cinema club, and most other places have a quiz, open mike or band night each week.

One of my favourite things about weekends is that I have the mornings all to myself. There are no 9am lectures, so everyone else is having a lie in until midday, or nursing a hangover. I LOVE mornings. I can get my workout done and dusted, have time to myself and indulge over breakfast. Even if you're not an early riser, chances are you'll still be up before anyone who went out will. Try to use these golden few hours productively and you'll be free to socialise by the time everyone else is just getting up.

How to survive uni when you're not a party animal via @eleanormayc
Just a water please
Sometimes I like to go out... halfway. I'll join everyone for a house party or pre drinks, or I'll go along to the pub before the rest of the group head to the clubs proper. Taking this half way approach really helps me to not feel like I am missing out. I get to spend time with my friends, enjoy a couple of drinks and still not feel like I've had a complete blow out -staying out can result in me getting very tired, or very grumpy and neither of these are what I want to be! In some respects, I think you get to enjoy the best parts of the night by backing out early -everyone tends to get scattered on the dance floor or queue for drinks, which is just a pain!

Now, an ideal situation would be to have a friend, or even circle of friends who have a similar attitude to going out to you. But then again, things might not be so interesting that way! Alternatively, grab your friends on a night that they aren't going out and have an evening in. Have a flat meal together or a film night. Nights in in front of the telly (or laptop!) are a perfect excuse to get out some healthy treats to try as well, so make sure your cupboards are well stocked.

Finally, no matter what, don't feel guilty. If you want to go out, great! If not... also great! University is the first place where you can start to properly be yourself so be you! Find your niche and own it, even if your friends don't quite sit in to it as well as you do. Do what makes you feel good and healthy.

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Thursday, 1 October 2015

Three Tips to Stay Healthy this Autumn

The first of October has come around remarkably fast, and the crop tops and bare legs walking past my window as a type suggest that many of us haven't quite let go of summer yet. However, with the equinox passing, marked by the gorgeous lunar eclipse last week, it is undeniably autumn, or fall, and so it is time to shift our routines around once again. The lowering levels of sunlight, indoor germs and more sedentary evenings can bring about their own problems, so here are my five tips to staying healthy in this transitional period.

Lemon ginger and cinnamon infusion from Three tips to stay healthy this autumn and fall. via @eleanormayc

Fuel up on bug-blasting foods

If there is one thing other than drunken nights out that heralds the start of university term, it is Fresher's Flu. Yuck! Spending more time indoors and returning to work and school means that bacteria, fungi and viruses are more easily passed between people. Whilst keeping your hands clean and covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing is an obvious one, you can also eat your way into strengthening your immune system. Lemon water is very popular at the moment, but why not try adding ginger, cinnamon and a bay leaf, for a comforting infusion? This infusion is alkalising, which helps to makee the body a less habitable environment for bacteria. Ginger is a great reliever for upset stomachs as it relaxes the intestinal tract and helps to move gas. It is also anti-inflammatory, great for reducing discomfort if you do get unwell. Cassia cinnamon, the form of cinnamon most commonly bought today, can boost metabolism thanks to the oily compound cinnamaldehyde. This compound is also thought to inhibit the growth of some harmful bacteria, and to treat fungal infections. Studies also show that cinnamon can help to lower blood sugar, particularily useful for those with diabetes. It does this by interfering with the breakdown of carbohydrates (1).

Another great food to add to your diet is turmeric, which is also anti-inflammatory. It has been shown to help those suffering from IBS and Crohn's Disease, and has also been linked to brain health and preventing Alzheimer's disease. As well as adding this versatile spice to savoury dishes, try your hand at making "golden milk" or this superfood hot chocolate. I also love Pukka's Three Ginger tea, which contains turmeric.

Alkalising lemon infusion fromThree tips to stay healthy this autumn and fall. via @eleanormayc

Get outside

There's something about the golden light and last few breaths of warm breezes that makes me really love autumn. Whilst Britain's weather is hardly predictable, dropping temperatures and rain do become increasingly common towards winter, so make use of these last gorgeous days. I find going for runs or walks outdoors much nicer in the cooler, in-between seasons.  It's an old adage, but a breath of fresh air really does do you good. A quick break outside improves your mood on a chemical level, and it has become a widely accepted fact that taking a short, active break can improve mental activity. Plus, if you get into the habit of exercising outside now, there is a good chance that you will get into a habit and keep going well into winter (yes, you CAN become one of those crazy runners out in the elements!!). It takes three to six weeks to form a habit, so if you start getting outside now, it will hopefully feel natural by November. For the days when the weather is just too bad, still aim to get some exercise in as the endorphins make you feel good, and you'll stay fit and healthy.

Cinnamon, lemon and ginger infusion from Three tips to stay healthy this autumn and fall. via @eleanormayc

Take time to feel good

Whilst you may not be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), many of us can relate to the symptoms as the nights draw in: feeling lethargic and tired, craving stodgy, carry foods, and generally having low moods (2). SAD is often associated with a lack of sunlight, which is why it becomes common during this time of year. However, it may just be the cold weather and dark days that make you feel moody! When you are inside, make it a cosy experience with a comforting fire on in the evening, indulgent baths and plenty of yummy, warming drinks! Another trick come autumn, is to start to introduce a few warm colours to your house. Switch you cushions for reds and oranges and chuck a few fluffy throws around for cooler nights. I find colour psychology so interesting -I am mostly drawn to greens and blues, especially in my own room, but in autumn a warm red living room is such an inviting space.