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Posts tagged “Diet”

Having waxed lyrical about the joys of apples and pears a couple of weeks ago, this week we’re going to look at some of the veg which are at their best right now. And for the next few months too. True, they’re not as exotic as some of the other produce you can find at your local supermarket, but they provide just the right mix of nutrients needed during the colder months of the year. 
 
So, without further ado, let’s start with one group of veg that doesn’t have the best PR. They’re seen as rather dull and boring, not helped by the traditional tendency of overcooking them. Well, let’s be honest, boiling them for hours until they resemble a grey green sludge in the bottom of the saucepan. In fact there used to be a standing joke that one of them should be put on to boil in November to be ready for a certain day in December… 
 
Have you guessed what we’re talking about yet? 
It’s amazing how the seasons suddenly seem to turn and this year is no exception. We may only be at the beginning of October, but it feels as though Autumn is well upon us, due in large part to the recent storms and torrential rainfall. 
 
Despite the signs of the winter to come, there are still lots of local goodies to enjoy at this time of year. While the blackberries may now be over, rosehips and sloes are coming into their own, with good crops of both to be found in the hedges if you’re quick. For a reminder about their many uses, as well as the joys of foraging, click here
 
However, it’s some other fruits which are at their best at this time of year that we’d like to talk about this week. They’re the ones found in just about every fruit bowl, all year round, which is probably why we take them so much for granted. But, as with any fruit in season and freshly picked, there’s nothing to beat them. 
With the recent spell of hot weather – well, hot for the UK (!) – and a repeat forecast for the end of the week, it’s easy for people to become dehydrated without even realising it. Perhaps it’s due to them not being used to hot weather and simply not recognising the warning signs. Having said that, many of the classic signs of dehydration seem so obvious – to us at least (!) – that it can sometimes be hard to understand how people don’t seem to join the dots. 
 
So, this week, we’re going to look again at the most common signs of dehydration. And, don’t be fooled, they apply all year round, not just in the summer (!). 
 
Let’s begin with the most obvious ones of feeling thirsty or having a dry mouth. Now you may think these are blindingly obvious but you’d be surprised. 
With the rather strange year we’ve been having – in every way (!) – and people having to spend much more time at home, it’s not surprising that the barbeque season started much earlier than usual. In fact, if there’s been one saving grace, it’s that the weather has been remarkably kind to us since the spring; allowing us to spend more time outside in our gardens… 
 
Like us you’ve probably experienced your fair share of barbeques over the years; with the all too common “raw on the inside, burnt on the outside” offerings (!). All going well, you’ve survived them without any ill effects, although they account for a large number of food poisonings every year. 
 
So, with the school holidays just starting it seemed like a good time for a gentle reminder – or two – about how to survive the barbeque season without any ill effects. 
We’ve been following a decidedly floral theme recently, enjoying the delights of this time of year. While Elderflowers may not have been at the top of most people’s lists (!), Lavender certainly is, as is this week’s choice. Time and again, it tops the list of our favourite summer flower, so there are no prizes for guessing what it is. The Rose. 
 
It’s thought that Roses have been grown for over 3,000 years, with a huge number of different wild varieties, let alone cultivated ones. Originating in Iran, they can now be found in almost every part of the world. 
It’s one of life’s mysteries that, for some inexplicable reason, the simple things seem to give us the most pleasure. Often much more than their long awaited – and more expensive (!) – counterparts. 
 
Anyone who’s watched a small child unwrapping their Christmas or Birthday presents, has encountered this first hand. With the box – or wrapping paper (!) – holding their attention for much longer than the contents. Is so much more interesting and attractive. Gives greater pleasure and is played with for a much longer period of time. The contents quickly forgotten and pushed to one side… 
 
Why is it that simple pleasures seem to be so much better? 
Early Summer is the time of the Elderflower, those lovely frothy white flowers that festoon the hedges in late May and early June. A welcome sign that Summer has arrived, along with Swallows, House Martins and Swifts; making it hard not to wax lyrical about them! 
 
As an established part of the English countryside, Elderflowers mark the turning of the farming year, from late Spring into early Summer. They also play an important part in Celtic folklore, associated with the Flower Bride. And making it easy to see where the inspiration for all those traditional white frothy bridal dresses and bouquets came from… 
 
These days, Elderflower is usually thought of for its culinary uses. Elderflower cordial – more about this later (!) – or, for the more adventurous, Elderflower Champagne. Perhaps sprinkled over summer fruits, such as gooseberries or raspberries, or added to smoothies. 
 
However, Elderflower also has many herbal and health giving qualities, making it a valued medicinal herb. 
A few weeks ago – goodness, it was mid February (!) – we had a look at susceptibility. Why there is no bogeyman – with your name written on them (!) – out there waiting for you. If you need a quick reminder, you can find the post here
 
As so often is the case, this has led on to various conversations with clients, friends and family about what actually determines susceptibility. In other words, the Risk Factors. The things most likely to tip the odds for you in the wrong direction. 
 
Before we go any further, there’s one very important thing to bear in mind. That we’re all completely unique. In every way. There’s never been another person exactly like us and never will be again. So, however similar we may be to another person – or people – our own particular make up, circumstances, life and medical history are unique to us. 100%. 
It’s always good to have something to mull over and give the “little grey cells” a gentle workout. So, this week, we’re going to take a look at a little conundrum that’s been intriguing us in recent weeks. And that’s people’s shopping choices in the run up – and during – the current madness. 
 
Here in the UK, we’re used to milk and bread flying off the shelves at the first mention of snow. Well, let’s be honest, even at the mere thought of snow. Which, in reality, usually means a couple of inches max and the country grinding to a halt for a few days. It’s one of those unwritten traditions we’ve all learnt to expect... 
 
This is in stark contrast with a lovely comment we heard years ago from a Canadian. When asked whether she was worried about it snowing – and having to drive back to her hotel in London (!) – she said there wasn’t “proper” snow in the UK. Her definition of “snow” being that she couldn’t find her car in the morning. It certainly gives a very different perspective! 
A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned “greenwashing”. It’s the latest tactic being used by companies to make their products appear more natural – greener – than they really are. Even if you haven’t come across this particular term before, you’ll have noticed the plethora of different “green” labels appearing on your favourite products. All those pictures of flowers, rolling green fields and the like. It’s fast becoming another fact of modern life, not just products related to health in some way. 
 
So, what is greenwashing and why is it such a concern? 
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