Go Alcohol Free This Autumn - Bax Botanics

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With the summer drawing to a close and the hangover of gin filled evenings beginning to take effect, many of us will be feeling like perhaps we’ve over indulged throughout the lighter months and looking to take a break from alcohol. However with the choice of booze free beverages leaving little to the imagination, abstinence can end up being somewhat difficult. Step forward Bax Botanics!

Independently run in North Yorkshire, Bax Botanics produces alcohol free spirits that, enjoyed with a traditional mixer can be the perfect alternative to alcohol. Distilled in craftsman made copper stills – just the same way as gin, these mouth watering spirits are made using organic herbs sustainably farmed from Fairtrade farmers. Adding to the company’s eco credentials, Bax bottle labels are printed on environmentally friendly sugar cane waste with recycled cardboard and clever box design eliminating the need for extra packaging materials.

Bax Botanics

Bax Botanics

Our business is born of a love of flavours gained through 15 years of teaching foraging and preserving.

Bax Botanics

Bax currently produces 2 spirit flavours at the distillery, Sea Buckthorn and Verbena, with each creating its own unique taste.

•             ‘Sea Buckthorn’ is a distillation of fragrant herbs and botanicals - Citrussy Seville oranges, Mediterranean herbs and subtle, warm, buttery baking. The blend is relaxed and luxurious.

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  •       ‘Verbena’ is a distillation of light, bright herbs and botanicals – Lemon Verbena and hints of menthol, make this blend stimulating, appetising and fresh.    

With no sugar, no sweeteners (there’s just half a calorie in each 50ml serving) and completely allergen free, these spirits are perfect for diabetics and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

Sea Buckthorn

Sea Buckthorn

Verbena

Verbena

We created the drinks to fulfil a need for adult drinks that are not sweet but are a sophisticated treat.

•             Great for the growing number of people who want to stay focussed, alert and at their best! 

•             An excellent treat for the non-drinker when friends are drinking alcohol.

•             Perfect those who need to drive or as a pacing drink. 

•             Great for the health conscious and pregnant ladies also those who have children.

Rose Bax - Bax Botanics

The Velda - The Perfect Non Alcoholic Cocktail

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Named by Chris Bax to sound like an ethereal, sprite of the hedgerows – born from Verbena and Elder. Hedgerow foraging in a glass: the flavour of Elderflower, spring herbs and fresh apple combine with the light bitter notes of Mediterranean tonic.

INGREDIENTS 

•             50ml Bax Botanics Verbena

•             5ml Monin Green Apple Syrup

•             5ml Belvoir Elderflower Cordial

•             150ml Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic

•             Ice and a straw

•             Edible flowers to garnish

Mix the ingredients together in a tall glass and top up with ice. Garnish with edible flowers or a slice of apple. Elderflowers would be lovely a lovely alternative during the summer months.

Bax Botanics can be found in Booth’s,The Craft Bottle Shop and online.

For more information about Bax Botanics please visit www.baxbotanics.com

NOTE: Bax Botanics will be exhibiting at The Capsule Beauty & Wellness Event on Thursday 5th Sept in Leeds. For more information please visit www.thecapsule.co.uk/events.

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How To Navigate Your Supermarket - Nichola Ludlam-Raine

Registered Dietician & Fitness Instructor Nichola Ludlam-Raine acts as our food angel when it comes to keeping us on the safe side of food shopping with her helpful guide ‘How To Navigate The Supermarket’.

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The supermarket can be a minefield when it comes to healthy living. As you enter the shop, you are presented with a vast array of healthy fresh produce to fill your trolly with, but then come the aisles of tempting and colourful offers on tasty, highly processed ‘junk food’. And if it’s not the buy one get one free on Oreos that will get you, it’s bound to be the Mars Bar as you cue up to pay.

To help you to navigate your local supermarket, here is in my simple guide..”

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Fruit, Vegetable, Salad & Potato Section

The first rule in my supermarket guide; spend most of your time in the supermarket in this section!

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Fruit – Fruit makes the perfect snack if you’re hungry, it bulks up your breakfast and can be a great alternative to a sugary dessert, especially when served with yoghurt. Fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants (which keep us healthy), fibre and it’s relatively low in calories too. A handful of fruit comes in at around 50 calories, and although some fruits do contain more calories than others; e.g. a large banana has more calories and carbs than a bowl or blueberries, a piece of fruit is always a healthier option in comparison to biscuits and sweets which provide very little in the way of nutrients.

The government recommends that we should eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, a portion being a handful or 80g of fresh fruit. For dried fruit though, the amount that equates to one portion decreases to just a small handful or 30g due the removal of the water. There are more calories in dried fruit weight for weight which is why we shouldn’t eat them in copious amounts; a small amount though can be a great way of helping your digestive system to keep moving because of all of the fibre. I personally like the advice that is given in Australia; Go for 2 & 5 (2 portions of fruit and 5 portions of vegetables a day).

Vegetables & Salad – Vegetables should be eaten in abundance. The key though with fresh vegetables is to buy only what you need for the week, to prevent food waste, or you could have a go at making soup!

Like fruit, vegetables are crammed with phytonutrients and plant goodness and are very low in calories thanks to the high water and fibre content. Experiment with different cooking methods to keep your vegetables interesting; you can throw a handful of spinach into a smoothie or a stir-fry, spiralize courgette and roast onions and peppers; it’s amazing what a little bit of rapeseed oil and some herbs can do! If you’re trying to lose weight aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables and if you’re trying to maintain your weight then fill a third of your plate with vegetables. Vegetables release their energy slowly and to get a wide range of nutrients aim to eat a variety of different colours!

Like vegetables, salad items such as lettuce and cucumber should also be eaten in abundance, just watch out for the creamy dressings; you could try a sprinkling of olive oil, balsamic vinegar or lemon juice instead, or a mixture of all three!

Potatoes – Potatoes are usually found in the same section as the vegetables however with the exception of sweet potatoes, unfortunately they don’t count towards your ‘5 a day’. Potatoes provide energy, vitamins and fibre (especially if you eat the skin!) and as a general rule you should pick a potato that matches the size of your hand when it is clenched; providing you with enough energy to fuel your day. If you are more active than usual though they you may be able to get away with eating more.

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The Chiller Section

Meat & Poultry – Meat and chicken are a fantastic source of protein, which is vital for growth and repair. If you’re watching your weight take a look at the leaner options such as chicken breast, turkey and lean mince, and try to avoid any skin. Try to limit your intake of processed red meat such as sausages, bacon and ham i.e. avoid having them daily.

Fish – For heart health it is recommended to eat two portions of fish a week, one of which is oily; such as mackerel, sardines, salmon, fresh tuna and pilchards which are rich in essential omega 3 fatty acids. A portion of fish is 140g (after cooking) and includes seafood as prawns, which do not impact on heart health in a negative way, as we were once led to believe. If you don’t like fish then alternative sources of omega 3 fatty acids include walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds, flaxseed and linseed oils and tofu.

Meat-Free Alternatives – Meat free alternatives such as Quorn are a convenient and vegetarian source of protein. As well as being easy to cook they also tend to be lower in calorie than their meat equivalents. I strongly recommend checking out this section of the supermarket if you haven’t done already as there are both health and environmental benefits to having at least one meat-free day a week.

Dairy – Dairy products such as cheese, milk and yoghurt provide protein and also calcium which is essential for teeth and bone health. An adult requires 700mg of calcium a day which you can get by consuming 250ml (a glass) of milk, 30g (a match box size) of cheese and 120g (1 pot) of yoghurt. If you’re watching your calorie intake then choose semi-skimmed milk over full-fat, and if you’re trying to reduce your sugar intake go for plain yoghurt and add your own sweetener or fruit for flavour. Greek yoghurt is packed with protein and makes a convenient, filling snack.

When it comes to buying spreads, gone are the days when margarines were made through the process of hydrogenation, so choose those that are made with olive oil or vegetable oil for heart healthy monounsaturated fats. Butter is also a natural choice, however it isn’t as heart healthy as an olive oil based spread.

If you’re lactose intolerant or vegan choose for milk alternatives such as unsweetened nut or oat milks, milk-free cheeses and spreads, and soya yoghurt.

Ready Meals – Ready meals can be convenient when you’re rushed for time, and although they may be sometimes lacking in the vegetable department, you can always add your own!

Many supermarkets sell lower calorie ready meals (under 400 calories) and the majority have a traffic light label on the front. Colour coded nutritional information tells you at a glance if the food is high, medium or low for fats, sugars and salt. Red means ‘high’, amber means ‘medium’ and green means ‘low’. As a general rule we should be eating more products with ‘green’ labels and fewer products with ‘red’.

Before buying a ready meal I would advise to have a quick look at the ingredients list, to see exactly what you are going to be eating and check how many the carton serves before cooking (so you can choose to heat up all of it or just half if it’s for one person).

Regarding foods such as pizza, remember that you don’t have to cook or eat the whole thing. Choose to eat 1/2 and bulk the rest of your plate out with salad or load the pizza with more vegetables before cooking. Pepper, ham and sweetcorn all work well.

The Food Aisles

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Fats – For cooking, choose an olive oil that is suitable for heating (it will say on the label) or coconut oil; if you like the taste! And for salad dressings stick to olive oil for heart healthy benefits. Try not to use too much oil though during meal preparation or else the calories will soon add up! Aim for a moderate fat, rather than high or low fat, diet for heart health.

Tins & Jars – Tinned food is often cheaper and more convenient than fresh, and as a bonus it has a longer shelf-life. A can of baked beans is a great source of protein, fibre and slow release carbohydrate and it also can count towards one of your ‘5 a day’. Other types of beans, as well as lentils, are perfect to keep in the cupboards to bulk out stews, chillies and chicken dish. Tinned soups can be another good item to keep in your cupboards, just remember to compare salt levels if you’ve got high blood pressure and consider buying the lower one.

Tinned fish is often cheaper than fresh however be sure to buy those tinned in spring water or tomato sauce as opposed to brine or oil; which come with extra salt and calories!

Regarding foods such as jam and honey, eat these in moderation due to the sugar content. If you can opt for reduced sugar jam or jam that is sweetened with fruit juice. Remember that even natural sugar shouldn’t be gorged on.

Jars of sauces can often have a bad reputation, but quite often the main ingredients are simply tomatoes and herbs; a great way of saving time during cooking.

Eggs – Eggs are a good source of healthy monounsaturated fat as well as protein. They contain dietary cholesterol which has a minimal impact upon the cholesterol in your blood; when we eat cholesterol from food, our body simply makes less of it. There are no recommendations for the maximum amount of eggs to eat a week currently in the UK.

Pasta/Rice – Basmati rice, pasta and noodles provide slow release energy, with the ‘brown’ or ‘wholemeal’ varieties providing added fibre too. As a general rule, as with the potatoes, go for a fist size serving unless you are particularly active.

Cereals – In general it’s best to avoid honey and sugar coated cereals and instead go for oats, which are a great source of soluble fibre, and those labelled as ‘wholegrain’ for added goodness. When it comes to cereals that tend to be higher in calories such as granola and muesli watch out for portion sizes; have a go at weighing out your cereal one morning to see exactly how much you are putting into your bowl!

Bread – Choose wholemeal bread for added fibre and remember that the breads which release their energy the slowest include pitta, seeded or granary varieties.

Nuts – Nuts provide fibre and nuts are a great source of healthy fats. A small handful of nuts (25g) is a great snack, especially for on the go!

Chocolate, Sweets, Biscuits, Crisps & Fizzy Drinks – Aim to keep high fat/sugar processed foods to a minimum. Remember though that it’s not the food per se that is ‘unhealthy’ it’s the quantity and frequency that it is eaten in that counts; the odd biscuit here are there may not do any harm but frequent intakes of these foods may increase the risk of obesity, tooth decay and heart disease. Diet or no added sugar fizzy drinks are kinder to both your teeth and weight!

Cereal Bars – When it comes to cereal bars always check the ingredients list; if glucose, syrup or sugar are the first or second ingredient then think twice about buying these. Choose cereal bars based around oats and fruit, for examples Jordans, Nutrigrain and Nakd bars.

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I really hope that you find this guide useful. Remember though that you don’t necessarily get ‘good and bad’ foods, just good and bad diets! Fill most of your trolly with fruits, vegetable and salad, some of it with lean meat or vegetarian source, fish and diary, whole grains and finally just a little bit of what you fancy and you won’t go wrong. 

Finally, only buy what you want to eat; remember that your fridge and cupboard contents are the main influence on your diet!

For more from Nicola please visit her website www.nicsnutrition.com

Note: Nicola will be joining our Expert Panel at The Capsule Beauty & Wellness Event on Thurs 5th Sept.

To book your tickets please visit the link below.

Top 10 Mood Boosting Foods

We know that the balance of our wellbeing often lies in getting enough sleep, enough exercise and enough water, but getting the right nutrition is also imperative to the positivity of our mood and aptitude of our performance. We’ve probably all experienced the post lunch slump after indulging in convenience pasta and sandwiches, leading us to feel sluggish and tired at our desks and thus stressed at the end of the day having not completed the amount of work we should have. So much of our energy and concentration is determined by what we feed our brain that Health Fitness Revolution has made a list of top 10 Mood Boosting Foods to help you stay happy and alert in the office, at home and at play.

“Serotonin is a brain chemical that is known to impact your mood. Keeping levels in balance can help promote a feeling of calm, well-being, mental alertness, control and an increased ability to deal with stress.  Since diet can influence our supply of serotonin” says, Samir Becic

  • Nuts and Seeds: Researchers from the University of Barcelona found that men and women eating almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts had higher levels of serotonin metabolites. In addition, just one ounce of mixed nuts a day may also help reduce obesity, blood pressure and blood sugar.

  • Greek yogurt: This dairy pick is packed with more calcium than you’ll find in milk or regular yogurt, and it can make you happy, too. Proper calcium levels give the “Go” command, alerting your body to release feel-good neurotransmitters.

Pan Fried Salmon

Pan Fried Salmon

  • Ocean-going cold water fish: such as salmon and mercury-free tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids which can help improve depression symptoms. A past study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that volunteers with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had fewer depression symptoms and a more positive outlook.

Tofu Salad Bowl

Tofu Salad Bowl

  • Flaxseed: another great source of omega-3 fatty acids. They also are rich in magnesium and B-vitamins, nutrients that help us combat stress.

  • Soy isoflavones: help with mood and mental function. These foods are also rich sources of vegetarian (no-cholesterol) protein which may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well. Add soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, miso, and soy milk to your daily diet.

  • Avocado: rich in omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids, antioxidants, and potassium.

  • Asparagus: This vegetable is one of the top plant-based sources of tryptophan, which serves as a basis for the creation of serotonin, one of the brain’s primary mood-regulating neurotransmitters. High levels of folate also add to asparagus’ happiness-promoting profile because research has shown that up to 50 percent of people with depression suffer from low folate levels.

  • Dark chocolate: which contains an antioxidant known as resveratrol. This nutrient can help boost brain levels of endorphins and serotonin, helping to improve your mood. The recommended dose is one ounce per day (not the whole bag!)

Boiled Eggs

Boiled Eggs

  • DHA: is a particular form of omega-3 fatty acid that can be found in many foods. But including organic DHA-fortified eggs in the diet will also provide a good source of protein and tryptophan. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that when people eat eggs for breakfast, they feel more satisfied and therefore consume fewer calories throughout the day compared to a high-carbohydrate breakfast, such as a bagel.

  • Mussels: loaded with some of the highest naturally occurring levels of brain-protecting vitamin B12 on the planet. That makes it an important food source, considering that a significant portion of the U.S. population is B12 deficient. Maintaining healthy B12 levels preserves the myelin sheath that insulates your brain cells, helping your brain stay sharp as you grow older. Mussels also contain trace nutrients that are important to balancing your mood, including zinc, iodine, and selenium, things vital to keeping your thyroid, your body’s master mood regulator, on track.

With a mood-boosting diet change, don’t forget to include exercise as well. Regular exercise can be as effective for depression treatment as antidepressant medication or psychotherapy. Just getting out for 30 minutes can have a huge impact on your outlook for the rest of the day.

For more information about Health Fitness Revolution please visit their website.

10 Best Low Carb On The Go Snacks

We've all heard that a high protein, low carb diet is the best for slimming down for the summer, but with so many carbalicious snacks, sandwiches and even salads (I'm thinking the mayonnaise laden pasta versions) filling the shelves at your nearest boots, tesco express and sainsburys local etc it can make eating healthily on the run particularly difficult. However the lovely lot at LIVESTRONG have compiled a list of the 10 best low carb on the go snacks to keep you satisfied without caving in to the crisps.

Sweet and savory while still keeping the carb count down? Yes, it’s possible. Cottage cheese is a nutritious, low-carb staple. Three quarters of a cup with four thinly sliced strawberries supply 15 percent of your daily calcium needs and almost half of your vitamin C requirements. You can vary the flavors by swapping out the strawberries for blueberries or raspberries, and also try seasoning with cinnamon or adding vanilla extract for extra sweetness. CARBS: 10 grams.

 

Prefer to make your munchies from scratch? Good idea: You’ll know exactly what you’re eating -- no added sugars, preservatives or other crazy ingredients you can’t pronounce. Sharon Richter, a New York-based registered dietitian from HealthiNation, recommends turkey roll-ups as a simple snack you can prepare ahead of time and then stash in your bag for later. To make them her way, take a slice of turkey and wrap it around a pickle slice along with a very thin slice of avocado and tomato. The lean protein and monounsaturated fat combo will keep you feeling full longer -- and less tempted by the office vending machine. CARBS: 9 grams (for three roll-ups).

 

Lifeway’s BioKefir isn’t quite a smoothie, but that’s the best way to describe this dairy drink that looks, tastes and smells like one. Made of kefir, which is similar to yogurt but a richer source of live and active probiotics (the healthy bacteria that can boost the immune system and aid digestion), these 3.5-ounce shots have as much protein as a whole medium egg. Two flavors worth having on hand at home or work are BioKefir Blackberry, which contains 30 percent of your daily calcium needs, and BioKefir Pomegranate Blueberry, which meets 100 percent of your vitamin C needs. (lifewaykefir.com) CARBS: 10 grams.

 

A childhood favorite is new again. For a quick, high-protein energy boost, try the totally portable ants on a log. Peanut butter is a great source of healthy fats and satiating protein. The key is to use natural peanut butter made with just peanuts (and salt, if desired) -- avoid butters with any added oils or sugar. Celery gives you a satisfying crunch, and the raisins add a touch of sweetness. CARBS: 10 grams (for two logs).

 

Forget the portion police! With Sabra’s Classic Hummus Singles, it’s OK to clean out the container in one sitting (something that’s been known to happen when somebody cracks open the family-size version too). This two-ounce pack is just the right amount to satisfy a savory craving and keep you full until your next meal, especially when you use it as a dip for peppers or celery. (sabra.com) CARBS: 9 grams.

To read the complete article please visit LIVESTRONG.