December surfing in Barcelona. Good idea to have a stretch first! Core strength, balance and flexibility are vital if you wanna ride all day. www.surfcorestrength.com #carvemag, #surfing, #barcelona
Even if you are not in the wellness industry, I hope that you will read this article. I organise conventions two or three times a year called Pilates Carnivals. They are very different to any other convention, in fact as far as I know they are unique in the health and fitness world. It’s not only Pilates, it also includes yoga, meditation, health, fitness, diet and functional training. But what makes them different?
It’s different because it is non-profit. All the profits that are made go to a local children’s charity. Everyone who participates (including me of course) does so free of charge, giving all their time and energy knowing that we are all creating something very special, a very positive energy. The aim is to teach, learn, socialise and break down barriers whilst sharing our passion and our ideas.
Pilates Carnival aims to promote and assist with the training of teachers all over the world. It does this by providing free places to training courses, conventions and workshops and through the conventions. I am creating a global community who are not motivated by money, but simply what to give something back to the fitness community that we love and rely on, whilst also helping charity at the same time. Of course the truth is that the more we give, we more we get back, it’s one of the Laws of the Universe.
My next goal is to arrange Fitness Carnivals based on the same principles, including all forms of exercise. That will be a lot of fun!
My conventions have been very popular, I’ve held them in several countries including the UK, Germany and Poland and this year will be Spain and Australia (I want many more in places all over the globe). But a few people have met my idea with bitterness and animosity. They say I am reducing the value of Pilates. This is of course nonsense, the truth is they are afraid that their commercial interests might be reduced. And some people will never get the fact that by giving, we are creating something money can never buy.
So if you “get it”, you can help. Please get involved. The more we spread the word, the more we can buck the trend of money-making commercialism, bring the Pilates and fitness communities together, improve standards and the more we can raise for very worthy charities. You do not have to be a Pilates teacher. If you have any interests in the area of wellness then you can get involved. You can help by sponsoring the events, donating products that can be sold at events (everything from clothing to drinks, equipment to retreats), donating places on your training courses, presenting at events, offering to work with me to organise an event in your City, giving time in promoting events or web development, and by simply sharing this blog or the Facebook Page.
Please join this community. We can make a difference. Never let anyone tell you that we can’t.
Before I ever recommend anything, I always try it first. From juices to footwear, exercises to music.
I’ve been vegetarian for many years and also wheat free, and tonight I will be tucking into a plate of Zero Noodles. They have so few calories that you burn whatever calories they do have whilst you are eating them. They are also gluten free and organic.
Sounds too good to be true? It will all come down to how they taste, and I’ll tell you that later! If the taste matches the other impressive features, then they might just be a great way to eat healthily and help control your weight.
(How many people are now praying for Zero Chocolate? That would make a few pounds for the inventor).
Try this lovely, quick recipe for your noodles. You can use whatever vegetables you can get your hands on.
1 packet Zero Noodles (200gms, 7 Oz )
4 spring onions, sliced crosswise, greens and whites separated
About 1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup frozen beans
About 1 cup thinly sliced multi colored capsicum
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 medium celery, thinly sliced
1/2-1 cup bean sprouts
1-2 garlic, finely minced
1-2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1-2 tbsp chilli sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Boil the noodles as per the package instructions. Add the salt and oil to the water.
2 When 85-90% cooked, drain the noodles and toss lightly with cold water. Drain completely and set aside until ready to use.
3 Heat a Wok with about 1 tsp of oil until it smokes. Make sure you have all the vegetables ready as its all about quick cooking. Add the garlic followed by spring onion greens, bell peppers, cabbage, celery, carrots and beans. Toss on high flame for 2 minutes. Don’t leave the vegetables on their own since at this stage they can get lonely and easily burn. You need to keep tossing them.
4 When you find the vegetables softening slightly, add the noodles, soy sauce, salt, pepper, chilli sauce, bean sprouts along with spring onion greens.
5 Give it a good toss and saute for another minute or so.
As most of you know I am vegetarian, so can I write an unbiased blog about meat? I certainly can if my information is based on facts.
I really have no issue with people who eat meat. I am totally tolerant of other people’s choices (as any good Buddhist should be). I choose to be vegetarian for many reasons, one reason being my concerns about the quality of much of the meat that is on sale. I never try to “convert” people, but I think it is important to have all the facts available so we can all make an educated choice.
The reason for my blog today is a couple of reports this week. The first is about the water content of frozen chicken sold in leading supermarkets. A recent study has found that between 13% and 18% of frozen chicken is simply water. That means that people are paying around £1.50 (2€) per kilo for water! So why is there so much water in the frozen chicken? The manufacturers say it is essential to improve the flavour and moisture. Believe this is you want, but the other reason is of cause to add bulk and therefore increase profits.
If this was not bad enough news for frozen chicken eaters, it gets worse. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK are investigating a major UK importer of poultry who it is claimed, imported frozen chicken from Brazil, defrosted it, added water, then froze it again for sale. But the water that was added also included additives to help the meat to absorb the water. It is common for extracted protein to be used to bind in the extra fluid, and some years ago there was controversy as it was claimed that the added protein in chickens also included proteins from beef and pork. The FSA are again today investing new claims that undeclared proteins have been added to chicken.
Also this week there was an official report produced for the UK Government following the horsemeat contamination that hit the UK and Europe earlier this year. This involved several beef products in several supermarkets being found to contain horse DNA. This report concluded that large amount of meat of “dubious origin and quality” is still being sold by a web of international traders. Some gourmet burgers were found to contain offal such as heart. Most worryingly, the report concluded that some of the meat on sale was not fit for human consumption, and was intended for dog food rather than supermarket shelves.
The food scandal extends beyond meat. It is an interesting fact that the UK alone consumed 1,800 tonnes of Manuka Honey, when the only official producers in New Zealand only produced 1,700 in total for the whole world! Also, as pomegranate’s popularity increases as a “superfruit” there are questions being asked as to how 400 new drinks are now available without any way of an immediate increase in pomegranate trees (they take two to three years to start producing fruit).
We are what we eat. Really. It amazes me that some people buy higher quality products for their pets or the cars than they do for themselves. In my opinion we should always buy the best possible food that we can afford, and always try to know as much about the source of the food. Whilst this can never remove all the risks of buying something of a poor quality, it can reduce the risks.
Generally speaking, if something seems too cheap to be true, then it probably is.
This is a very personal and difficult blog for me to write, but one that I really want to share with you all. No pictures, just my honest, heart-felt story.
Dementia, even in 2013, is still a dirty word to many people and misunderstood by many others. It “remains one of the last bastions of stigma and fear when it comes to illness” as the UK health secretary very succinctly put it. This week in the UK press there has been a lot of headlines about it as David Cameron headed a G8 conference on the subject on Wednesday the 11th December. The result of this was that the G8 pledged that they would find a cure by 2025, treating it in the same was as HIV/Aids and cancer
My story is a typical one, nothing special when dealing with this terrible disease. My father started showing symptoms a few years ago. The usual forgetfulness and unusual behaviour. The disease soon progressed to the point where he didn’t recognise me. This thought still makes me cry to this day. If you want to understand what dementia can do, try imagining one of your parents looking at you like a stranger, and worse with mistrust and even fear in their eyes. I witnessed my father not only lose his mental capacity, but also his dignity. The care he received from one of the UK’s so-called leading healthcare providers was a disgrace and only made the whole situation worse. The night my father passed away, I had a horrible dream. I woke up with a sick feeling in my stomach to find that I had slept through a call from the hospital telling me I should get to his bedside immediately as he wouldn’t make it through the night. I will regret missing that call for the rest of my life, but maybe it saved me the pain of seeing him pass away. I can instead remember saying good night to him the night before and kissing him on his forehead as he was in a peaceful, drug-induced sleep.
Labelled the 21st Century Plague, dementia is going to become part of more and more people’s lives. About 800,000 people in Britain currently suffer from it, and this figure is predicted to double by 2050, with cases around the world projected to triple to 135 million by the same date. Currently, there is no cure with health services only able to try to help people live with their disease rather than cure it. This makes it all the more important to reduce the risks of developing it in the first place. Research is increasingly showing that five key components of healthy lifestyle can ward off a range of conditions including heart disease, diabetes and dementia. A recent 35 year study found more evidence to confirm this. So what are the five key components?
1) Regular exercise
2) Eating fruit and vegetables
3) Staying slim
4) Light drinking
5) Not smoking
So not rocket science then, and something that everyone can do. As Doug Brown, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society said “we have known for some time that what is good for your heart is also good for your head….. healthy living could significantly reduce the chances of developing dementia”.
I still cry when I think back to what happened to my father. Whilst the world’s leading countries have finally woken up to this global issue (some cynics might say their attitude has been clarified by the threat of enormous costs associated with treating sufferers), by taking five simple steps, we can all help to reduce the risk of my story becoming your story, or your children’s story. Trust me, however difficult you might think those five steps are, the alternative could be ultimately worse.
Here are some links to recent articles I have written about the connection between mental and physical health, and about depression. New studies are confirming the links every week.
Here are my simple tips to help you feel that little bit happier. Simple but effective!