- Recommended Reading: Flow
- Healthy Seasonal Recipe: Butternut Squash & Sage Pearl Barley Risotto
- Article of the Month: What Television Diet Shows Teach Us
- And Finally: Don’t Forget, People Are Awesome
Hello healthy people,
Welcome to February – it’s wild and windy but at least this time next week we’ll have an extra half an hour of daylight. It’s a good time to start working towards summer races and looking forward to some sunshine, perhaps even on holidays.I’m currently taking on new off-peak (weekday daytime) clients if you’d like me to help you reach your fitness goals quicker and more easily. Got an old pair of jeans you’d like to fit into? Get in touch!
Recommended Reading: Flow
It might be rainy and blowy outside, but it’s perfect weather to catch up on some reading. Switch off your smartphone or tablet and read a real book. One of my favourite books of all time is ‘Flow, the Psychology of Optimal Experience’ by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It “explore[s] a happy state of mind called flow, the feeling of complete engagement in a creative or playful activity.” I love helping people find their fitness flow, have you got an activity you flow with? Read it and be inspired.
Healthy Seasonal Recipe: Butternut Squash and Sage Pearl Barley Risotto
On page 5 of my Healthy Living Yearbook is a super easy recipe for Pearl barley risotto. It’s a popular choice with readers and is one of my all-time favourite easy dinners. This month I’ve branched out on a brightly coloured variation with cheery orange squash. I only just learned recently that barley is Scotland’s main cereal crop, so this risotto is perfect for a Scottish winter. Barley has especially good fibre in it, making it great for your gut, as well as very sustaining for the cold weather.
Makes four large servings
1 tbsp butter
400g pearl barley, rinsed
1 vegetable stock cube
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1″ cubes
spray of oil
½ block feta (around 100g)
Small handful finely chopped sage
– Firstly, get the cubed squash roasting in a lightly oiled oven tray (I use an oil sprayer). It should take about 30 – 45 minutes on 200 degrees C depending on your oven and how well done you like squash. Whilst this is roasting, prepare the risotto base:
– Melt 1 tbsp butter in a big pan.
– Sauté the rinsed pearl barley to coat in butter for 2 – 3 minutes.
– Add crumbled stock cube to 600ml boiling water and pour over pearl barley.
– Cover and simmer on a medium heat for just over 30 minutes, top it up bit by bit with 800ml hot water until it’s all absorbed.
– When cooked, remove from heat and stir through the squash, crumbled feta and sage. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Article of the Month: What Television Diet Shows Teach Us
January is a dark month during which many of us are still in semi-hibernation. It’s also a month of really good TV viewing. I have been binging on the latest diet shows, including ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor’ and ‘How To Lose Weight Well’ and thought this month I would summarise my findings and add my tuppence worth.Firstly, most of the guinea pigs on these shows are self-confessed junk food ‘addicts’ who have let their habits slip over time. Introducing a new way of eating, with the pressure of being monitored by a television camera, mean that the subjects are more likely to stick to it. And see results.
So lesson number 1, be accountable to someone, whether it’s a camera crew, your personal trainer, or a buddy who is also attempting to become healthier. I joke that I am a ‘professional nag’ as I check each week as to how rigorously my PT clients are sticking to their new intentions.
Secondly, most of the diets trialled on these TV shows involve participants sticking to fresh natural food and cutting out alcohol, sweets, cakes, processed food and junk in general. You do this, and cook your food mostly from scratch, and your waistline will get smaller. It’s not rocket science that food you prepare at home is most likely going to be better for your body than processed food that has lots of inferior industrial type ingredients.
Finally, the most successful trials take place over the course of a month or more. It’s nice to see broadcast that crash diets usually don’t work and are often a horrible experience (as they exclude so many food groups). The diet industry would not be such a money-spinner if fad diets actually did work. Making smaller changes over a longer period of time will see more meaningful results in permanent svelteness. Eat well, move more and enjoy yourself doing it is the key to success. And drop me a line if you need a hand with it.
This article will be in the next Trinity and Stockbridge Spotlight magazines…
Have a happy and healthy February,