Monday, 23 June 2014

Get Summer Ready: From the inside out

I thought I’d start a series of how to get ready for summer! Having the right products to accompany you to the beach or getting fit now that we’re showing a lot more skin or updating your makeup bag with summer appropriate products. Today I’m starting the series with a post about cleansing your body and getting summer ready from the inside out!

I used to be the type of person that didn’t like going to the gym at all, never really did any sports and had to drag myself to any sport related activity my friends had planned (never really participating though!). Two years ago I decided that I wanted to change my body and toss those extra pounds, so I started exercising, still had to drag myself to the gym, and started paying more attention to what I was taking in my body. Not that I started buying organic foods only or excluded anything from my diet, I never found the extremes very appealing. Since then, I have managed to keep the extra pounds off and have been exercising regularly so that it has become sort of a life style for me (if you told me that I would be typing that sentence 5 years ago I would laugh at you, seriously!). What I enjoy most when going to the gym is a class of Zumba. I find it very stress relieving and therapeutic when I’m down or had a bad day at work, because I love to dance and Zumba is exactly that; you dance to very easy to learn choreographies along with a bunch of other people and you tone your body and burn those calories in no time. The fact that you have a good time while exercising makes the endorphin levels in your body increase and the fact that you sweat a lot releases all the toxins from your body making your body look more toned and defined and your skin look glowy.

Since I exercise almost every day I need to give my body some fuel and energy to burn throughout the day and the tough workout. What has been a favourite of mine for the past 2 months are green smoothies. You’ve definitely heard of them because they are so popular among every health related website. At first glance they are kind of gross, either because of their colour or even at the thought of blending together spinach or celery with fruits. However, take it from a person that the only green that I can bear is lettuce and I hate spinach, they taste delicious! The key is to put the right percentage of greens and fruit in it so that you can’t taste the spinach. Also, it is a bonus if your fruit is pretty ripe because you will get all the nutrients from the fruit and they will be more tasty as well to mask the taste of the greens. I drink it every morning as breakfast and I find that I feel really full until late noon. I’ve also noticed that my skin is looking a lot better and the acne is not that bad anymore (that’s thanks to a skincare product as well which I can’t wait to talk to you about, but anyway!). It definitely helps with my body’s endurance during the workout and the benefits are multiple if you think for a bit how many nutrients you are infusing your body with first thing in the morning. Let’s see how I make mine, there’s really no recipe for it, you just use whatever fruit or greens you like most.

The important thing in order to avoid your smoothie tasting nasty and putting you off is to keep the percentage 60-40, meaning 60 fruit and 40 greens. More specifically, you need 1 cup greens, 1 cup liquid to blend and 1 ½ cup fruit. For greens I use raw spinach, which is very low in calories and contains a lot of your daily intake of iron, as well as vitamins A and C,  but you can also use celery, kale, lettuce or whatever you like really. For liquids, I usually use almond, hazelnut or rice milk because I’m lactose intolerant, but you can also use regular milk or even kefir or yoghurt to get a thicker consistency. Orange juice is a nice alternative as well or even just water. For fruit you may literally use whatever you like; bananas, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries, pineapples, mangos, avocados, pears, kiwis, peaches and the list goes on. Make sure one of your fruit is frozen to have that milk shake consistency to your smoothie. In order to boost it, I also add a teaspoon of peanut or almond butter, some raw unsalted almonds and 1 teaspoon chia seeds, which I’ve previously let linger in 2 teaspoons of water for about half an hour to come to that gel like consistency. Chia seeds are a superfood which helps you feel full and control your desire for nibbling. In Greece you can find them in organic food shops and they are around 3€ for 150gr. 
How you make it? Simple! You just put the greens with the liquids first in your blender or your multi and give them some spins until you can’t see any chunks any more. Then you add the fruit and give it another couple of spins. And lastly you add your chia seeds or any other booster you might have chosen. Bear in mind that the more red fruit you add, like strawberries or blueberries, the better the smoothie will look colour-wise and the more appealing it will be to you or your children that you are trying to feed them their greens but they refuse!

So this is what I’ve changed in my routine in the last couple of months and I don’t intend to stop drinking it, especially now that the weather is warmer and you need something chilled and refreshing. Try it and you’ll be amazed by the taste and how easily you will inconporate greens in your every day diet! And it only takes 10 minutes, including clean up!

Let me know how you like it and which combination you liked best!

Georgina x x x

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