Disqus for Where Are My Knees

Healthy(ish) Gift Guide

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Do you struggle with gift ideas for your loved ones who spend most of their time out running or prepping for their clean eating lifestyle? These gifts can help the people in your life meet their fitness goals or ring in the New Year with a healthier lifestyle.

Elemis Aching Muscle Super Soak - £26.95 - This is great for aches and pains after a good workout. it has energising and warming extracts of Birch, Juniper, Clove, Alpine Lavender, Wild Thyme and Blue Chamomile, combined with Mineral-rich Sea Salt, ease tired muscles and recharge the body.

Bathtub Sloe Gin - 31DOVER.com £24.95 - If your loved one has been working hard all year and being super strict with their diet a little tipple over Christmas might be just thing thing they would like as reward. This one looks great,  just like an old apothecary medicine bottle – brown paper and string and wax sealed by hand. If you fancy 10% off this or anything on 31DOVER.COM use the code 31GEM 

Retro Space Snack Box - £8 - A perfect stocking filler for all those prepped vegetables to snack on and lean meals.

Fitbit Flex - £79.99 - If you've set aside a big budget for gift or if you are getting a gift for a very special friend this Fitbitis great and tracks steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes and sleep.

Itsu the Cookbook: 100 Low-Calorie Eat Beautiful Recipes for Health & Happiness - £4.99 - This would make a great secret santa present. Every dish provides fewer than 300 calories per serving, takes fewer than 30 minutes to master and contains minimal amounts of saturated fat.

Focus 200 In-Ear Headphones  - £24.99 - Once in place, the earbuds are 'locked' and won't wrangle free and are sweat proof- even in the most intense workouts.
Dark chocolate Santa - Christmas is time to indulge but you can enjoy these ones and know that the dark chocolate is an antioxidant and convince yourself that they are practically a super food ;)
What are you hoping for this Christmas? Have you got any tips on giving gifts to those who like to live a healthy lifestyle?

Feel Good, Be Good, Do Good - Yogi Tea giveaway

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Today's post is a giveaway kindly provided by Discount Supplements, specialists in Online Sports Supplements.  I'm a huge tea fan and would love to drink it all myself but one lucky reader will win the following:
  1. Yogi Positive Energy Tea Cranberry Hibiscus: An uplifting and invigorating tea infused with Green Mate, Guarana & Assam Black
  2. Yogi Detox Tea with Lemon; a tangy detox tea infused with the flavours of Bitter Dandelion, Sweet Liquorice & Spicy Ginger
  3. Yogi Women’s Tea; a balancing tea with a blend of Ginger, Orange Peel, Angelica Root & Ayurvedic Spices
  4. Yogi Bedtime Tea; a calming and organic tea infused with Chamomile, Lavender, Nutmeg & Valerian Root 

Each box contains 17 teabags and the winner gets a complete set!

Yogi Tea have been specialising in organic herbal tea since 1960 and are experts in creating flavoured healthy tea. Their story began when Yogi Bhajan, a teacher of holistic living, started teaching yoga in the West. He shared with his students the wisdom and knowledge of healthy living and the beneficial properties of herbs that he had mastered in India, all while serving a comforting and aromatic spiced tea they affectionately named “Yogi Tea.” Included in the recipe were five traditional Ayurvedic spices: cardamom seed, cinnamon bark, clove bud, ginger root and black pepper. When blended and brewed, these delicious and aromatic spices leave you feeling vibrant and alive, while supporting overall well-being. Intrigued by the complex flavor and inherent health benefits of this unique combination of spices, it wasn’t long before several of the yogi’s students were inspired to brew their own “Yogi Tea.” In 1984, this grassroots endeavor blossomed into the Yogi Tea Company. Packages of the dried spices began to appear in natural foods stores throughout Southern California and in Europe. By 1986, Yogi Tea was distributed nationwide in three flavors. As demand increased, the spices were more finely ground, packaged and sealed into individual tea bags.

If you fancy winning some of these delicious teas just leave a comment below with some contact details like and email address or a twitter handle and a winner will be picked at random on Tuesday 22nd September Good luck!

My Race for Life - Cardiff 5k

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Up and down the country, women of all ages, shapes and fitness levels will participate in Race for Life events this summer to raise funds for research into treatments and cures for cancer. Since the event’s inception in 1994, more than £500million has been raised for Cancer Research UK, and more than seven million women have played their part in raising both money and awareness for a great cause. I was proud to be one of those seven million women to take part when I ran in the Cardiff Race for Life today. 

I have been using the Kiqplan Race for Life app to prepare for my race. I didn't get to do as much training as I would like because of a few injuries but the app meant that my last minute training was much more focussed thanks to all the reminders. The app had everything you would need to get you ready just twelve weeks before the big race. I wore my Orb for the race (and the rest of the day) and you can see all my steps below. I've loved tracking my activity and the app and tracker have meant that I've pushed myself a bit more.

Based on your fitness level the app set weekly walking and running goals and you are rewarded with performance badges for meeting your goals, or given constructive feedback and advice for getting your race preparations back on track. I'm not particularly motivated so this app was perfect for me.

The atmosphere at the race today was amazing. I know some people grumble about it being a female only event but that really helps me to relax and not be as competitive. I feel uncomfortable at the gym when everything is 'mansplained' to me and I'm typically the only overweight person there. This is a positive event where women of all abilities can feel comfortable so I always enjoy the race. I took part on my own today and the sun came out so I found it hard to run the whole 5k. Running with friends last year meant thatI kept up with the other a little more but I was happy with my race.

I completed in 37 minutes and I'm ok with that. Yes, someone who is fit can do it in half the time and some people can run 10k in that time but I was pleased that I jogged most of the way and didn't stop.

Even though my race is over you can still donate to my Race for Life Just Giving page. I would love to reach my £150 target and all the money goes to CRUK who are working everyday to beat cancer

  • £8 kits out scientists with a lab timer, helping them to find out what makes a cancer cell tick.
  • £20 buys a lab coat, box of gloves and goggles. Not only geek chic, but vital items to help scientists carry out life-saving research.
  • £70 pays for a Bunsen burner to help ignite groundbreaking research on a daily basis.
  • £180 pays for one day of a trial to discover faster diagnosis and new therapies to treat brain cancer.
  • £300 buys a hotplate to warm special solutions, turning up the temperature on groundbreaking research.
  • £450 pays for one day of a trial to diagnose prostate cancer earlier and more efficiently.

Lots of the Race for Life events have already taken place this summer but you can still sign up for races in Exeter & Swansea (lots more too) and some new 5k Pretty Muddy races have been added in September. 

Did you take part in Race for life this year? How did you get on?

Race for Life - Getting ready for the race with the Kiqplan training app.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

I can't believe its only one week until the big day, the Cardiff Race for Life. I'm running the 5k race again this year and you can read all about my progress and reasons for running in previous posts. I've been trying to drink more water and eat a little cleaner as part of my training. I've not been able to do much running due to an injury but I'm fully healed now so I've been pounding the pavements and going out for a few runs the past couple of weeks and also attending a few kettle bell classes to get my ready for my race. 

I find it hard to stay focussed and make time for running and I know I wouldn't have gone out as often if it wasn't for the Race for Life Kiqplan app that I downloaded. It has really helped me feel like I'm ready for my race and gives me little prompts and motivation every day. 

Kiqplan™is the official fitness plan partner for Race for Life. Kiqplan is here to get you ready for the big race day. They have created a number of guides on the Race for Life site that you can print out (available here) but they have also created an app that you can take with you wherever you go. 

Kiqplan is a personal coaching app and features a bespoke 12-week training programme to help get Race for Life ladies of all ages, sizes and levels of athletic ability ready for their 5k, 10k or Pretty Muddy event.

How it works

Kiqplan uses information from your smart phone, app or activity tracker about the number of steps you take or calories you eat to design a training plan, specifically for you.
When you get the app you will have lots of fantastic resources to get you race-ready. You’ll receive:
  • Daily motivational and health tips
  • Weekly workout videos
  • Easy-to-make recipes and nutritional advice
  • Weekly walking or running targets
Packed with expert advice on fitness and nutrition, it’s like having a trainer, nutritionist and motivational coach all for  £4.99! You can get it from both iTunes and Google Play. 20% of sales go straight to Race for Life.

I've linked my app up to my Fitbug Orb (review here) to track my steps and daily activity but you can also use it with just your phone to track activity or other fitness monitoring devices (full list here). The Orb has really made me think about how much activity I do each day. I'm disappointed if I do less than 10k steps in a day and it was a great way to start my running journey. By upping my steps to 15k on a good day starting to run 5k was less daunting and exhausting. 

If you're new to running and Race for life here are some of my top tips for training

  • Wear comfy shoes and make sure your feet are well supported.
  • Look the part while training with some Race for life merch.
  • Wear a good sports bra.
  • If you're a beginner, increase the time you exercise for gradually.
  • Train with friends and help motivate each other.
  • Whether you walk, run or dance, go at a conversational pace.
  • Remember to warm up and cool down before and after any exercise.
  • A balanced diet will help you feel great.
  • It's important to stay hydrated before, during and after exercise.
  • Remember to stay Sun Smart when you're training and keep covered up and use SPF protection.

Are you taking part in Race for Life this year? Do you have any tips for me or any advice for my race next week? I'm a little anxious but also excited for the race. 

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

*I am a Race for Life and Kiqplan ambassador 

#mybestsandwich - Carbs

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

"Carbs" has become a dirty word in recent times, especially in the weight loss world and the phrase 'No carbs before Marbs' comes to mind when I think about them. Plans like Atkins have led people to cut them out from their diets all together but not all carbs are the same and it is the type and quantity of carbohydrate in our diet that is important. Fibre, found in wholegrain versions of starchy carbs is good for our health. A survey conducted by YouGov revealed that almost half (49 per cent) of British women aged 18 to 35 who have been on a diet are cutting carbs, with a third (33 per cent) ditching bread in the last year.

Let's dispel some carbs myths...

Will carbs make my gain weight?

Consuming more calories than we need is what makes us gain weight rather than where they come from. Carbs can be useful and if we choose wholegrain ones which contain plenty of fibre they help us to feel fuller for longer. But beware processed carbs including sugary cereals, rice and pasta because they are stripped of vitamins, minerals and fibre so are less satisfying than wholegrain varieties. But they are way too tasty to cut out all together though right? ;)

Why do we need carbs? 

In a healthy balanced diet they are the body’s main source of energy. High fibre, starchy carbs release sugar into the blood more slowly than sugary foods and drinks. Vegetables, pulses, wholegrain varieties of starchy foods, and potatoes eaten with their skins on are all good sources of fibre. Fibre is an important part of a healthy balanced diet. It can promote good bowel health, reduce the risk of constipation, and some forms of fibre have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. 

Cutting out carbs means that you may miss out on essential vitamins and fibre, calcium and iron. A low carbohydrate diet can be accompanied by headaches, weakness and irritability in the short term so there's no harm in treating yourself to your favourite sandwich from time to time. 

My favourite sandwich has to be the classic BLT. You can't deviate from the five classic ingredients: bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and bread. I like to use some low fat mayo and I either trim some of the fat from the bacon or I use bacon medallions which are pretty lean. Yum!

Remember, before you embark on any new diet or fitness regimen:

• Carbohydrates help you to feel fuller for longer, making you less likely to snack on the unhealthy things and providing a great source of fuel before or after a workout
• Bread is low fat, low sugar and around 80 calories a slice, so if you’re watching your weight you can fit it easily to your health plan
• White bread is a good source of non-dairy calcium as white bread is fortified with calcium
• There is no singular dietary cause of bloating; low stress, eating a well-balanced diet containing fibre & drinking enough water can help

If you want to find out more about carbs, how they relate to your health or try some bread recipes head to http://fabflour.co.uk/fab-bread/

*post is written in association with the Federation of Bakers and the Flour Advisory Bureau.

Tomato & Basil Risotto

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Today’s recipe – Tomato & Basil Risotto is very simple to make and is a perfect midweek dinner to serve on its own or as a side to some grilled chicken. It's also the type of dish where you could use up any left overs you have like roasted veg from your Sunday roast or cheese that needs to be used up. If you don't have any of the ingredients listed you can experiment a bit.

Remember, risotto should have an overall creamy consistency; it shouldn't be too dry and the rice should be al dente, chewy but definitely not mushy so don't overcook it like I do by mistake sometimes. 

20g salted butter
10ml olive oil
3 tomatoes – cored, seeded and diced
½ onion – diced
1garlic clove – crushed
220g Arborio rice
400ml vegetable stock
20ml double cream
30g fresh basil – chopped
70g goats cheese – sliced
Pinch of ground black pepper
Pinch of salt

Roasted vegetables (optional):
100g butternut squash – diced and roasted
½ red pepper – diced and roasted

Serves 4

1. Heat the oil over a moderate heat and add the onion as well as garlic to the pan. Sauté until the onion softens. Then add the tomatoes and seasoning. Sauté for a further 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the rice, mix thoroughly and sauté for 3-4 minutes. You can add the optional roasted vegetables at this stage.
3. Gradually add the vegetable stock, stirring until all the liquid is absorbed.
4. Continue stirring until the rice is tender and creamy but still firm, then add the butter and cream.
5. To serve, top with basil and cheese.

Nutritional information: Calories - 283kcals Salt - 1.1g Fat -12.2g Saturated Fat - 7.1g Sugars 2.4g

The idea that making risotto requires hours of stirring over a hot stove is a total myth so I hope you give it a try this weekend. Have you got any risotto suggestions for me? I would like to try one using some nice seasonal asparagus next time or maybe a mushroom risotto.

Ingredients were provided by Care Home Provider, Sunrise Senior Living. 

Race for Life - Update - Healthy Eating

Sunday, 10 May 2015

When you start out on your Race for Life training weight loss and body toning are not the main focus, most people sign up to make a difference and raise money to help fund cancer research. If you train before the event but don’t normally do any regular exercise it might me a good idea to take a look at what you are eating. It is important that your efforts on the road or the treadmill are complemented by the food you eat.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your Race for Life experience:

Keep a food diary. Make a note of everything you eat and when you eat it. The food diary will give you a really good idea of the things you need to change about your eating habits and might help you plan to have a post run out snack to hand or eat something to give you energy before you go out and train.

Start counting – not calories, because that takes the enjoyment out of eating. Add up the amount of fats, proteins and carbohydrates you eat during the day. As a guide, you should be looking to eat 2 portions of protein a day (eggs, lean meat, lentils), 5 portions of carbohydrates (pasta, bread, cereal), 3 portions of dairy food (milk, yogurt, cheese) and at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables. (If you are looking to lose weight, keep portion sizes small – a handful of rice/pasta, two medium size potatoes, one egg).

Swap food
. Red and processed meats are linked to bowel cancer so cutting down can help cut the risk. Try chicken curry instead of beef stew or switch from ham to tuna at lunch. Check out Change4Life for lots more ideas.

Plan your menu
. At the start of each week plan your main meals. Taking an overview of the whole week will enable you to see if you are getting the proportions of protein, carbohydrate and fat right. It will also help you with your weekly food shop and help you cut out buying high fat/high calorie food stuffs.

Here are some of the foods I have been eating recently, I'm trying to eat plenty of fruit, veg and protein but still feel satisfied:

Consider what you are snacking on. Crisps, cakes, biscuits and chocolates are tasty but empty calories – they have a high sugar content but they will not fill you up or give you the long-term energy you need. They give you a quick boost of energy which will soon drop leading to you becoming tired. After a work out, it is important that you re-fuel. If you do your run and then go straight to work without eating something, you will soon begin to feel hungry and this is the time you will chose to eat unwise snacks. It is really important that you drink plenty of water throughout the day. This will keep you alert, keep you healthy and can also counter hunger pangs.

For more tips on getting on track with your training download the Race for Life app, which provides advice and support in the build up to your race.

Are you taking part in Race for Life this year? How has your Race for Life training been going? I've had a few injuries and even some stitches so mine hasn't been great but I've been focusing on drinking more water and eating more fresh food and meals cooked from scratch.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Superdrug Wellbeing Hamper

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

I love Superdrug and have written about their wonderful Cardiff Beauty Studio in the past. They have a commitment to ethical trading and lobby government to reduce Value Added Tax on products they believe to be essential to customers health and they ensure that their own brand cosmetics, toiletries and household ranges carry the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection BUAV leaping bunny logo which means they have not been tested on animals by Superdrug or our manufacturers. (They also don't avoid over a billion pounds worth of tax like Boots) All of this means they are my first stop when it comes to stocking up on holiday essentials and toiletries.

I've taken a few tumbles recently resulting in some stitches so I feel like my body needs to TLC and a good pamper so I was very pleased to receive a box of products that are exclusive to Superdrug to try out.

Lighterlife Fast Shakes and Lighterlife Fast Meal Replacement Bars - I love Lighterlife Fast products and have reviewed them on here before. For me they provide an easy way to reduce some bloating and lose the holiday/Christmas weight that can pile on so quickly. 5:2 dieting is a big trend right now but on a fast day, it’s almost impossible to get all your recommended daily allowances (RDAs) of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs if you were to prepare meals yourself. LighterLife Fastpacks are specially formulated nutritional food options that contain all the protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals required. The idea behind LighterLife Fast is to make life easier on those fast days providing you with four LighterLife Fastpacks  for those 600 calorie days. Super easy!

Scholl Luxury Pedicure Set - Scholl's Luxury Pedicure Set exclusive to Superdrug, includes the best-selling and ready to use Velvet Smooth Express Pedi Gadget and Intense Serum. I absolutely loved this, it left my feet looking and feeling good. I won't be ashamed to wear my sandals on holiday on June with this set. No more cracked heels and dry skin for me. 

Barebar Apple & Cinnamon - BareBar is a natural snack bar made only from pure, nutritious fruits and berries. The product is suitable for anyone as it is free from lactose, glucose, additives and animal-derived ingredients, BareBar is the perfect choice for those with dietary restrictions. These retail for £1.29 and are the perfect tasty snack.

Leader Detox Smoothie - I'm way too lazy to chop up loads of fruit and veg to make a smoothie and I've never got 10 different ingredients in my house to blend up so this sachet is perfect for someone like me or to take to work. All-in-one” Superfood Smoothies are made from the pure and natural ingredients and contain a balanced mix of essential dietary components like herbs, fruits and vegetables.You just add water, mix and drink. No messy blenders to clean up after either, hurrah!

Barefoot Peppermint and Plum Foot Lotion - Great smelling product that left my feet feeling super smooth and hydrated. This £4 tube will last you ages as you only need a small amount. 

Silver Line Complete Skin Beauty Tablets - This pack contains 28 days worth of Vitamin, Zinc, Argan Oil and Wheatgerm tablets meaning you take three tablets in total each day with a meal.I have to be careful when I take these because I take medication for my acne that stops working if you take them the same time as you take Zinc but I'm OK if I take it at different times of the day. Wheatgerm capsules offer numerous skin benefitting properties, ranging from softening and moisturising your skin to boosting its regenerative powers. It’s an excellent anti-ageing oil, works well to diminish fine lines and wrinkles and also generally supports a healthy, glowing complexion. The argan oil capsules promote overall skin health. It’s perfect for skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and acne rosacea, but is also great simply for nourishing and feeding the skin. I might report back on these after taking them for a month.

Have you tried any of these products before? What are your 'must have' products to help you feel healthy?