Saturday, 24 March 2018

Cancer Research : Fat Shaming or Fact Sharing?


Now, when Protein World created billboards on the London underground encouraing people to essentially starve themselves to be 'beach body ready', I got the outcry. When Pepsi released that advert with Kendal Jenner, I got the outcry. When Cancer Research released the above advert, I... didn't get the outcry. 
Don't get me wrong, I am all for seeing both sides of the argument, however this advert came to the forefront after a Twitter user slammed Cancer Research, telling them she would not be donating to them again as they were 'fat shaming' her with the advert. 
People were split completely down the middle. You had people very much in favour of what the user had said, and some who were very much not in favour of what the user had said. 
"You're fat shaming" , "BMI isn't a thing" , "I lead a healthy lifestyle I'm just bigger" and "You're scaremongering" were all comments I saw, and the same comments continued over on news outlets who had picked up on the outcry. 
Cancer Research however, were still standing fast in their research, stating that there was copious evidence that obesity was the new smoking in terms of damage to your help. They have calculated that 60 cases of cancer a day could be avoided if people stopped reaching for the McDonalds from their car windows and instead made healthier choices. 
Cancer Research UK chief executive Mr.Kumar said that "Obesity is potentially the new smoking, if we're not careful", which is a comment he made after years of research by the charity. 
If you pick up a packet of cigarettes and see the picture of lung cancer on the pack ; is this smoker shaming? If you are warned away from sunbeds due to harmful radiation ; is this tanning shaming? 
Now, I know I am opening myself up to a whole host of "you're skinny you don't understand" and "it's not easy to lose weight, I have X, Y and Z medical conditions", but hear me out: 
Cancer Research, and unbiased charity which is paving way for helping find the cures and triggers for cancer, are raising awareness of the common causes for cancer. Sure, you may not like it, but there is, and always has been, copious research from various countries and various institutes about the detrimental impact that being obese has on your body. Excess pressure on your heart, lungs and other vital organs means that you are statistically more at risk of premature death than that of someone of average weight within the UK. This is the same for smoking ; you're more likely to get lung cancer if you smoke than those who don't smoke. That's a fact. 
It's a hard hitting fact ; but it's a fact. 
Ever seen a PSA from Ireland about driving whilst drunk or driving and texting? Yeah, if you haven't, I recommend you do. If anything, it'll shock you in to thinking twice before picking up that phone to Snapchat your Spotify playlist for your 40 friends. 
In my opinion, Cancer Research are doing what they have always done - providing the facts in such a way that make you sit up and take note, and boy have people taken note.
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Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Quick And Easy Tenderstem Broccoli With A Bang


Ah, the classic tenderstem broccoli. Healthy, nutritious and...earthy.
It is no surprise to anyone I know that when they look in my fridge they will always be guaranteed to find cheese, chillis and some variation of broccoli. I eat enough of the stuff to keep a green grocers in business, and when I came back from a very unhealthy week in New York, the only thing I wanted to eat was a bowl of broccoli (which I did, FYI. My jetlagged arse hauled itself to the local shop to grab broccoli's before shuffling home, cooking it all up and getting in to bed before falling fast asleep in a ball). 
However, it can sometimes get a bit samey, so I have created a few tricks to spice it up.
For this super easy recipe, you will need a handful of tenderstem broccoli, some cooking oil and some garlic salt.
For this recipe, I use stir fry oil, but that's just because i'm too lazy to go buy some normal stuff. 

Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ingredients: tenderstem broccoli, cooking oil, garlic salt

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (electric oven) and chuck the pan in to warm up along with the oven.
2. Once the oven is up to temperature, arrange the broccoli on the tray before lightly drizzling the oil over the broccoli, followed by copious amounts of garlic salt.
3. Pop the tray back in the oven for ten minutes before removing from the oven.
4.Turn the broccoli over and return to oven for a further ten minutes. 
5. Voila, your broccoli is done and ready to eat. 
 

And there we go; Jamie Oliver, eat your heart out.
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Monday, 12 March 2018

The problem with social media is...?





If you asked ten people what their biggest gripe with social media is, you will probably get five different answers, minimum. ‘Fake’ people, false advertising, Photoshop, the answers are endless.
I have previously mentioned my gripe with people selling stuff on social media, and people selling ‘skinny’ teas which make you sit on the toilet for two hours praying for it to end are definitely high on the list. That is my general gripe.
But, as this is a fitness blog and I haven’t done a fitness post in a while, this is about my biggest gripe in the fitness world; unqualified people telling you unqualified things. Example? A Z lister trying to sell her young and impressionable followers ‘vitamins’ which will make them drop 3 dress sizes in two weeks. Now, unless she has discovered the holy grail of all fitness weight loss tactics, these followers will be paying for nothing more than what you can locate in your local Boots, but these tablets will most likely contain laxatives (see above about what these will leave you doing), which will make you drop water weight for a few days and dehydrate you senseless.
Next example? Meal guides (obviously, you also have to buy their ‘skinny’ shakes too) from another z-lister who was encouraging her fans to join her in a ‘detox’ before Christmas (FYI folks, your organs detox you , stop buying the detox juices. Put them down. Save yourself £5. You’re welcome). Now, not only is the idea of a detox outrageous, her calorie value for this was under 1000 calories a day. Less than 1000 calories. Not only will you be hungry, but you’ll be tired, sluggish and pile the weight back on as soon as you return to normal eating, thanks to your body thinking it was being starved. Dr Hazel Wallace is a fantastic advocate of calling out the bullshit, and I fully recommend anyone who doesn’t follow her should look up 1. Her and 2. Her book.
It’s not just has been celebrities who are peddling these things, but companies too. Step in Cute Nutrition, you hideous company you. Take a bow, and stay down. Cute Nutrition came under fire recently from Alice Liveing for encouraging their users to have, once again, less than 1,000 calories on their 2 shake and one (terrible) meal a day plan. A company was actually advocating starving yourself. If that doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable that a company is encouraging us to starve ourselves so they can up the sale of their shakes, then I don’t know what will.
Not only did Cute Nutrition bury their ugly heads in the sand when they were first challenged on their guide, they then gave a very sarcastic response to Alice about nutrition. For those of you not in the know, Alice is a kick arse PT, who knows her thing on nutrition (follow her too for some inspiration ladies, she’s super). Not so cute now hey?
So, this is the crux of it. My issue with social media is; little to no knowledge being used as gospel. We live in a society whereby we can access social media at our fingertips, and surf to our hearts content whilst laying in bed, sitting on the bus going to work, or whilst in the gym (sorry Luke). We are so desperate to fit in to the new ‘normal’ that we would rather spend £30 to shit out all our fluids instead of approaching a professional and assessing how best we can improve our health for the long term.
Work in a building with several sets of stairs? Walk ‘em. Treat yourself to three chocolate biscuits with your cuppa? Drop it to one, or replace it with something a lil bit healthier, like my own homemade take on the Nakd bars
What you shouldn't do, however, is scroll through the fake reality that is social media looking for the next quick fix, which will just leave you needing to purchase toilet roll a hell of a lot quicker.
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Monday, 5 March 2018

Little Steps To Save The Planet


Unless you've been living as a recluse this past 6 months, you will have seen a snippet of Blue Planet II floating around on the Internet / on your tv / in newspapers (David Attenborough call me, I love you). 
In one particularly harrowing episode, we saw the impact of plastic on our ocean and the animals which reside in it. Many animals in the sea have poor eyesight, and will end up swallowing bits of plastic whilst mistaking them for their food. Ever seen a rescuer trying to pull straws out of a turtles nostrils? Or seen a penguin wrapped up in stray plastic? It's not pretty, and it's given many people (including me) the kick up the backside that they needed to start reviewing how they can be planet warriors. Now, i'm not saying that you need to sign up to some extremist group which ties themselves to bits of the landscape, but below are some pretty simple steps to help save the planet, and the cute little animals which live in it. 

1. Re-use 
Our need for convenience has seen us wasting excessive amounts of plastic over the past decade, in the form of straws, plastic food boxes and plastic cups from various outlets. Starbucks are starting to roll out a charge on all plastic cups, and many places are starting to offer to fill up water bottles for people, instead of people buying several plastic bottles a week. 
I have recently converted from using plastic single use straws, to purchasing some re-usable ones off Amazon for a few pounds. The same goes for bottles; with places like TK-Maxx and Home Sense selling great metal bottles which look great and keep your water super cold for hours (David, please be impressed). 

2. Make use of the labels 
I get it, you're rushing around trying to cook dinner, with one eye on the clock to be able to sit down in time for your favourite tv show that you've been counting down to since the episode last week (or a few hours before, I'm not judging). 
There are several things that can (and can't) go in to that magical green bin that sits by the side of your house, and it's important to check the labels before throwing things in. 
And whilst you're there with throwing things in, make sure they're clean before they go in. Yes, that does mean rinsing off your turkey mince tub before trotting out in the dark in your pyjamas before parading the bin out for the bin men the next morning. 
Even if your green bin can't take the products, you may live near a recycling centre which takes more products. 
One of my earliest jobs from my mum was to take the glass bottles to the ASDA car park on a weekend morning, whilst awkwardly jumping to try and reach the correct holes in the container. If a teenage me can do it whilst in some disgusting Converse and hideous shorts, then you can too. 

3. Who turned out the lights?
You ever walk past an office block late at night and wonder who could possibly be working at that time? Or are the lights just on because they weren't turned off?
Whilst you may not be able to go in to the office block and turn out all those lights (you may get frowned upon by the security of the office if you try and do this, and I'm not responsible for this, folks), what you can do will save you some pennies as well as helping the planet. 
Light pollution is a strong factor in global warming, and it is something that we can make a massive difference in slowing down. 
Instead of leaving lights on, or dimmed, turn them out when you leave the room. I live in a townhouse, and will often cook my dinner in the kitchen in between running upstairs to binge watch my tv or draft blog posts. The downside? I would often leave the kitchen light on as I knew I would be back down in 20 minutes to check on my next creation in the oven (Gordon Ramsay, I love you too. You can also call me). 
I am also a massive candle hoarder, and I feel like I should probably own shares in The White Company by now. Now, it may be because work is super stressful and I enjoy the scent of 'wild mint' as much as the next person, but I have spent a lot of time recently lighting some candles to get me in the mood for the next murder series on Netflix. 

And there we have it, my top three tips on how you can start to help good old Mother Nature, and have a polar bear cheering you on in the process.
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