I have a confession…2018 marks the first time in, goodness, nearly 15 years that I have got into a kitchen and BAKED! I have fond memories of baking with my Nana and many fond memories of baking with my Mum. Who didn’t love licking the bowl of all the gooey, sugary wonderment as a child? I certainly did.

So the year has marked a return to some old fashioned, home made goodness (good for the soul, not so much good for the waistline).

This post comes with a caveat!

The following are to be consumed responsibly, among good company, ideally with mulled wine or a hot chocolate. With an understanding that hard work in the gym and through the year allows for wiggle room on the glorious occasions  that the following goodies are on offer.

This recipe follows old fashioned baking principles, butter, sugar and loads of it. But its only Christmas once a year and (I for one) am prepping for a 1/2 marathon in Jan/Feb, so you earn your rewards..right?

Bake many and Enjoy

Ginger Christmas Cookies

Ingredients 

Makes: 15 Makes 15 – 25 depending on size of cutters

350g plain flour

100g butter

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

5 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

175g light brown soft sugar

4 tablespoons golden syrup

1 medium egg

Method

Prep:30min  ›  Cook:15min  ›  Ready in:45min 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
  2. Put the flour, butter, ginger, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda in a mixing bowl. Mix it all together with fingertips until crumbly. Add the sugar, syrup and egg and mix until it forms a firm pastry mix.
  3. Using the rolling pin, roll out the pastry to about 5mm thick. Make sure the surface and the rolling pin are well dusted with flour. Use cookie cutters of desired shape (I have stars and hearts) cutters to cut out shapes.
  4. Place the cut out pastry on a greased or non-stick baking tray.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Check after 10 minutes. Gingerbread may be ready after 12 minutes in a fan assisted oven.
  6. Allow to cool on a rack, once cold sprinkle with a  dusting of fine icing sugar (mix cinnamon and the icing sugar to make especially festive)

 

WATCH THE PROCESS Spiced Christmas Cookies

FIGURE GENIE sealfit
As the final week of November draws to a close  and I reflect on the last month or so, which has been peppered with a number of challenges both personally and professionally, I am reminded of some key lessons learned/honed back in 2012-14 during my #sealfit challenges.

ADAPTABILITY was one of the founding lessons we had drilled into us during long dark hours lugging packs, logs and team mates around the SoCal mountains, oceans and wherever else the Coaches could find that would create the most discomfort.

ADAPTABILITY is the one key skill and attitude that will keep you progressing, keep you alive (in combat situations and as I have learned in business also), it will keep you in a  positive headspace; it is directly linked to your motivation, resilience, success and ability to cope with any challenge life throws your way.

When you KNOW you are adaptable, you KNOW you can face anything and Conquer!!

Screen-Shot-2018-08-22-at-1.29.18-pm.pngSo what are the elements of adaptability? 

  1. Adaptable people experiment. 
  2. Adaptable people see opportunity where others see failure. 
  3. Adaptable people are resourceful. 
  4. Adaptable people think ahead.
  5. Adaptable people don’t whine, they ‘adapt’ & move on. 
  6. Adaptable people don’t blame. 
  7. Adaptable people don’t claim fame. They achieve quietly and hold their team mates up rather than themselves.
  8. Adaptable people know what they stand for. 
  9. Adaptable people keep an open mind. 
  10. Adaptable people maintain a curious disposition. 

When all you seem to see are closed doors, closed options or negatives around you; look for the windows, look for the other path around the obstacles, look toward the brighter sky.. because there is always a silver lining.. always!!!

Figure Genie, IFBB ProBikini, Fort Lauderdale 2012
Are You Adaptable ? 

Are you a person who is able to embrace change quickly or do you flee from it?

When you are asked to make changes within your current organisation/life/situation, what is your first thought or attitude? Are you open? Angry? Cautious?

Can you live in the tension of the ‘unknown’, or do you feel the need to ‘control’ all the outcomes?

Would others say you are a control freak? If so, why? What evidence is there in your life that would lead them to that conclusion?

How can you learn to embrace change more easily?

Are you living in a land ‘between’ right now? Caught between the past/unfinished business and your present joy? What in your life might need to be ‘grieved’ or ‘let go of’ in order to embrace the next phase?

Adaptability is a skill that can be honed; as humans, in our ‘natural’ stat,  we often do not cope well with change. Change and uncertainty are primally wired into our DNA as a threat to our survival.  However, with attention and awareness we can develop our ‘adaptability muscle’.  We can strengthen our resilience and our ability to cope with emotional and physical stressors far more effectively and maintain our critical reasoning capabilities.

In the journey to success it is not about talent or knowledge, it is about flexibility and adaptation. Who succeeds best is not the one who is strongest or fastest, but the one who can adapt to change and be flexible enough to survive through the arduous terrain of life, as well as exhibit a healthy dose of tenacity- adapt and never stop adapting; NEVER GIVE UP!

#shineon #mindsetiseverything #healthandfitnessblogger #flawsome #nextsteps #winning

IMG_2639.JPG

Happy World Vegan Day.

I invite everyone to try a vegan meal tonight and embrace the benefits of more vegetables, whole foods and a different way of eating today. I am a self confessed meat eater, I will admit, however I am very keen on the variety of ways meals can be put together for vegans and vegetarians.  There is more knowledge on approaching, what was once a very restrictive lifestyle, there is also more options in supplementation and commercially available foods.

TRY: NUZEST protein and greens

Use PROMO CODE: ‘figuregenie15’ for your 15% discount.

Go to: https://www.nuzest.co.uk/ref/figure_genie/

 

Enjoy something new today.

Looking after the brain & the gut are the keys to keeping young and ensuring that chronic disease and pain do not ravage your quality of life. Here are some simple tricks to keeping young and vital.

8 Brain Booster Hacks infographic

More research is coming forth showing a very clear link between diet, lifestyle behaviours and brain health. How do we  keep the brain young and healthy, support cell growth, repair & live a  more conscious lifestyle with behaviours that support our long term wellbeing?

Dr. Hyla CassMD, Integrative Psychiatrist, Author of Natural Highs and Supplement Your Prescription states, “If the gut is inflamed, so is the brain! Many psychiatric issues are due to inflammation, so avoid inflammatory foods. Gluten and dairy tend to be the worst offenders. Don’t follow a low-fat diet. Make sure to get sufficient fats and protein. Avoid trans fats, but eat healthy fats like omega 3’s found in fatty fish, and medium chain triglycerides from coconut oil. These are known brain boosters. Avoid sugar and excess carbohydrates, as they can induce insulin resistance and brain inflammation. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease is now known as Type 3 Diabetes. 

Turmeric is one of the most remarkable neuro-protective and neuro-restorative agents yet identified. Not only does it mitigate a variety of heavy metal, toxin, and toxicant exposures, it also has been demonstrated to stimulate asymmetrical neural stem cell division, which results in a regenerative effect by producing new daughter cells that replace dysfunctional neurons.

“Research by Dr. Robert Sapolsky has proven that cortisol imbalance leads to brain atrophy. Cortisol is secreted when you’re under chronic stress. You can improve your brain health by practicing stress management on a daily basis with things like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or journaling, and get plenty of “Vitamin R” – Rest, Relaxation and Recreation.”

We know that a litre of blood goes through your brain every single minute that your heart is beating; it brings oxygen and nutrients to the cells and takes away waste products. Therefore it makes sense to flood the body with oxygen through exercise, eat clean and nutrient rich foods to nourish the cells and limit stress and toxic influences from the environment and food we eat.

Here are what the experts say:

  1. Add coconut oil to your diet.  There is growing evidence that regular consumption of coconut oil may offer profound benefits in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. One of the primary fuels your brain uses is glucose. When your brain becomes insulin resistant, atrophy due to starvation can occur. But if you choose to limit sugar and eat healthy fats instead, ketones can feed your brain even BETTER than sugar and prevent wasting of brain tissue. Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat to energy.  One of the best sources of ketone bodies are the medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil.
  2. Limit sugar in your diet. Low-fat is the WRONG way to go because limiting fat in foods has caused the food industry to add sugar instead to preserve flavour.  We are now finding that eating a diet high in sugar & fructose could be the most damaging thing you do to your heart & brain.
  3. Increase your Vitamin D.  Vitamin D may also exert some of its beneficial effects on Alzheimer’s through its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Sufficient vitamin D is imperative for proper functioning of your immune system to combat inflammation that is also associated with Alzheimer’s. Researchers believe that optimal vitamin D levels may enhance the amount of important chemicals in your brain and protect brain cells by increasing the effectiveness of the glial cells in nursing damaged neurons back to health.
  4. Exercise regularly.  Exercise increases insulin sensitivity more than drugs!  SO make sure you commit to a regular routine of exercise at least 30min 5X weekly. Running/Cardio and weight training that elevates yur heart rate to zones 70-80% of your max HR for 20-30min are ideal.
  5. Take your high quality fish oil supplement.  High intake of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA helps by decreasing inflammation and preventing cell damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease, thereby slowing down its progression and lowering your risk of developing the disorder.  I recommend Thorne Super EPA or Nordic Naturals ProOmega.
  6. Vitamin B12 – Useful to prevent brain shrinkage and may even treat Alzheimer’s and memory loss.  As we age, we are less and less able to absorb adequate vitamin B12 from the diet.  I suggest adding a sublingual or liquid B12 at least 1000mcg daily to your regimen.
  7. Include folate,  B12 and folate work together to keep your brain and nervous system healthy.
  8. Avoid mercury and aluminum.  Dental amalgam fillings, which are 50% mercury by weight, are one of the major sources of heavy metal toxicity. However you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Avoid aluminum, such as in antiperspirants, non-stick cookware, or in vaccines as preservative.
  9. Gingko biloba: Several studies have found that ginkgo biloba has positive effects for dementia, including improving cognitive performance and social functioning for those suffering from dementia. Ashwagandah (withania root) are also known to improve cognitive function.
  10. Eat your blues! Wild blueberries contain anthocyanin and other antioxidants known to guard against Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.
  11. Challenge your mind daily. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
  12. Avoid anticholinergic or statin drugs. Drugs that block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter, have been shown to increase your risk of dementia. These drugs include certain nighttime pain relievers, antihistamines, sleep aids, certain antidepressants, medications to control incontinence, and certain narcotic pain relievers.  Use of statins have been shown to correlate with increase risk of developing dementia.