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10 uses for coconut oil and Chi giveaway

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Coconut oil is being touted as a bit of a wonder product at the moment and it's easy to see why. It's super versatile and you would be surprised by some of its uses. I've been using my big jar for a couple of months now and here are my top 10 ways of using coconut oil:

  1. Because coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it makes a great substitute for butter, margarine, or other spreads. Vegans don't eat any animal products so coconut oil a great alternative for them.
  2. Just put a tiny amount on your hands and run them through the frizzy areas and your split end will look much better. 
  3.  Use it as a make up remover. If you’re into the oil cleansing method, coconut oil is great for cleaning. Rub a bit between your hands until it softens or melts then rub all over your face then wipe away with a hot cloth. 
  4. The oil is great or your teeth.  Swish some coconut oil around your mouth for a few minutes in the morning to 'pull' bacteria out of your mouth. Spit and rinse with water.
  5. Apply directly after showering for super soft skin. It's especially good on dry patches like elbows and heels.
  6. It can be used as a stretch mark preventer, great for pregnant ladies.
  7. Rub it on your lips and use as a natural chap stick.
  8. You can use it to season cast iron pans and make them last a lot longer.
  9. Mix it with salt to make a foot scrub and remove dry skin on feet.
  10. It's a great way of saving space when you go on holidays. It can be used for so many reasons and you only need to pack one jar instead of loads of bottles and tubs. 
I'm a coconut oil convert but I had never tried coconut water until recently. Coconut water has been used for re-hydration and as a health and beauty aide in tropical regions around the world for centuries. It’s low in fat and calories, has no cholesterol, and has a natural balance of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium- making it a truly healthy electrolyte drink or sports drink alternative. Chi's special harvesting and processing procedures allow them to package and pasteurize natural Coconut Waters that are biologically pure, with no need for adding any preservatives. Sounds good right?

Not only do they offer regular coconut water then also offer Pineapple, Tropical and Mango flavours and dairy free and prebiotic Chocolate and Coffee Coconut Milks which are all natural, never from concentrate and always delicious. I had never tried coconut water before tasting Chi and I was surprised by the taste. It doesn't have that artificial coconut taste that some products tend to have, it is sweet and very refreshing. My brother is a bit of a coconut water conniseur and assures me that the fruit flavoured ones are some of the best he has tasted. The coconuts used for Chi products come from a plantation in Thailand, in a region known for having some of the sweetest coconuts in Thailand.

If you would like to try both the oil and coconut water from Chi then make sure you enter the competition below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Make the Perfect Green Smoothie

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Green smoothies have almost become the height of fashion in the celebrity world – every health conscious star has been spotted carrying one.  Before the green smoothie craze, many in the healthy living blogger world have been drinking this green liquid goodness for years.  I for one love my green smoothies, but it was a struggle at first.  Initially blending up spinach and kale into a drink didn’t really appeal, but now my confidence has grown and I think that I have got the perfect green smoothie down to a T.

So why are green smoothies considered to be so good for our health?

Smoothies have been on the tips of the tongues of many nutritionists for years, advocating them as a healthy snack or breakfast.  They are usually made up of fruit with yoghurt or milk, or just a basic protein smoothie.  Green smoothies however take it one step further and are packed with green earthy vegetables, meaning that they are bursting with a multitude of vitamin and minerals for your body.

Some of the health benefits include:

  •  Increased intake of fruit and vegetables 
  • A boost of antioxidants
  • Improved energy levels
  • High in fibre
  • Easier digestion
  • Fast absorption of nutrients
  • Clear skin
  • Improved well being
  • Balances the bodies pH levels
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Contains a high level of chlorophyll

Since all of the contents of the smoothie are blended, the cells of the plants are broken down which makes it easier for the digestive system to process.  Also, there is an enhanced assimilation of vitamins and minerals.  Blending up the vegetables and fruit allows the body to absorb the nutrients a lot faster if you were to chew them.  The high levels of chlorophyll in the green smoothies help to boost your immune response.

When making your perfect green smoothie there are just a few things to think about, mainly how are you going to make it super delicious.  Here are some of my own tips and things to consider that help me make my green smoothies magical:

Liquids to blend with

Most smoothies always consist of a base and this may be unsweetened almond milk (or a milk of your choice), coconut water, or just plain water will do.  Adding a liquid will ensure that all of your ingredients are well combined and smooth in your…erm smoothie.

Choosing my greens

Dark earthy greens are best in green smoothies as they are packed full of nutrients and vitamins.  I tend to stick to spinach and kale as they are easily blended, but cavolo nero, chard and beet greens would also work well.

Adding my favourite fruits

Fruits add a natural sweetness to green smoothies and there are really no limits.  I love to add pineapple, banana, mango, peaches, apples and frozen berries to mine – the choice is yours!

Making your smoothie super

Adding powdered superfoods, nut butters or protein powders to your smoothie increases their nutritional value immensely.  Ingredients such as maca powder, camu camu berry powder, spirulina or lucuma powder are full of added health benefits in their own right.  The addition of protein powder makes the smoothie more satisfying and perfect for a healthy breakfast. 

Sweeten it up

If you have a bit of a sweet tooth you can add sweeteners to your smoothie such as honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar and maple syrup.

So there you have it, my guide to making the perfect green smoothie.  Don’t be scared by the fact they are green.  There are so many different varieties and possibilities that you can create.  To start off with perhaps try a simple spinach, banana, peanut butter and almond milk smoothie.  If you follow these simple tips you will be dusting off your blenders in no time!

This post was written by Jemma Andrew-Adiamah, author of the UK healthy living and lifestyle blog Celery and Cupcakes.  You can follow Jemma via her Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Staying healthy in the office

Thursday, 10 April 2014

I find that my colleagues have a big influence in my diet and exercise habits. I work in a team of mostly ladies, and it's our usual topic of conversation. We're good at inspiring each other to be healthier... but we can also lead each other astray. Burger King Fridays have become a little too regular lately.

In collaboration with Fruitdrop, I've put together a few tips on staying healthier in the workplace. I know how easy it is to be led astray at work, but what we should be trying to do is be the people who lead people down the good track!

1. Instead of buying cakes and sweets, buy fruit or subscribe to a fruit delivery service like Fruitdrop.

2. Start a lunchtime walking club with your colleagues to burn a few calories before you eat your sandwich.

3. Share your lunchbreak with a colleague, and take turns to make each other awesome salads.

4. Quit the lift and take the stairs! Alternatively (or as well) park a little further away than usual to give yourself more exercise, or get off the bus a stop early.

5. Reward yourself! Go on a team lunch every month somewhere tasty, to make up for all your hard work.

Fruitdrop boxes start from just £20 and they deliver straight to your office! All the fruit is super fresh and yummy (seriously, my colleauges were raving about the pears) and we're now looking into getting a regular delivery. I highly recommend them as a way to kickstart your office to be healthier!

Written in collaboration

Dear Kate...

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Dear Kate website made me chuckle when it stated 'Laugh til you pee your pants. And strut your stuff safely...we've got your butt covered.' 1 in 4 women experience light bladder leakage on a regular basis and 60% of women experience overflow during that time of the month every month. We never talk about this despite so many of us ladies experiencing it and I love that Dear Kate can mention it openly and even make us laugh about it.

Dear Kate offers pretty underwear in a range of styles from simple lace to bold colours, all featuring absorbent and stain-resistant linings. They are designed to offer extra protection when a woman might need it during menstruation, exercise or after having a baby.

I tried out the Amelia Hipster Mini from the Queen collection and was really pleased with the fit and femininity of the briefs considering they are very functional and designed to help with leakage. After measuring my hips I went for the 1X, which is an American 16-18. I would say that they are very true to size and wont dig in so there's no need to size up. They came in a cute box which is a nice touch and I tend to keep them in there after washing so I don't have to wade through 40 pairs of black knickers to find them.

I've worn these whilst doing the 30 Day Shred and at the gym and they can hold up to one teaspoon of liquid or three if you get the full lining. There were no embarrassing wet patches in sight. Stress incontinence (gross, I know) can occur during exercise and I think these briefs would be great for anyone attempting a long distance run. The Sports range would be even more ideal for this function but they are only currently sold in regular sizing with no plus size option available yet.

This is what my pair look like:

Pretty good, right? That time of the month can be pretty crappy. You feel bloated and a bit sorry for yourself. With these the lace waistband is a pretty detail and the shape is much nicer than my 3 in a pack, M&S briefs I normally go for when I'm not feeling my best.Wearing these meant that I didn't have to worry about any embarrassing accidents and I felt much more confident.

Do you think about your underwear when working out? I know I always wear a sports bra but I had never paid much attention to my briefs before trying these ones.

If you want to get your own pair the code "WhereAreMyKnees" will get new customers 25% off until April 30th.