Whitekirk Golf & Countryclub News and Special Offers

Special Offer – 3 Month Leisure Membership at Whitekirk for £100

We are offering a three month Leisure Membership at Whitekirk from 1st October until 31st December 2015 for £100 per person.

Leisure Membership includes use of our well equipped gymnasium, swimming pool, sauna, steam room and spa pool.  For further information please visit our Leisure section.

To take advantage of this offer or to enquire further, please contact us.

Week #1 (Not) Giving into temptation

Talking to quite a few Whitekirk members and they echo many of my clients, namely that one of the biggest challenges in dieting/weight control is snacking at night.

What I usually say is to try to analyse why snacking in the evening is so tempting for you. Most of us will probably find it comes down to boredom and availability. The most simple answer is the most annoying – don’t have unhealthy snacks readily waiting in the cupboard.

To realise this, you need to change the way you shop. The shopping list you get every week includes all you need for the next 7 days – try and put in your basket only what is on the list. Go strictly by these items, completely ignore the aisles you don’t need. It will not only save you time and money – you don’t get to stock up on sweets etc. that will just sit in the cupboard and wait for a weak moment of yours.
We all know it is dangerous to stroll around the supermarket without an actual list. So whenever I find myself in the wrong aisles and my initial thought is: I could do with these crisps now…

For me it really helps to look at it from a different angle. I know how they taste and they will not be vanished from the shelves tomorrow. So I ask myself the question: Why buy it today, I could have this any time? I don’t know why but it somehow works and I find myself outside the supermarket the next moment with only the items that I wanted to buy initially. Maybe this way of thinking makes these snacks quite unattractive as we all know that there is a certain attraction to forbidden pleasures. Try to develop a bit of a “couldn’t care less” attitude towards these foods.

There are some more tips on how to stop the snacking – you just need to find out what works for you, a few suggestions here:

  • Eat all your meals and all your snacks throughout the day, it will limit the chances of feeling an uncontrollable hunger later.
  • Drink enough. If you feel like you could do with a snack, drink a glass of water or tea and then decide if you still feel the same.
  • I used to always want snacks shortly before bed time. However if you brush your teeth about an hour before going to sleep, you will not want to snack.
  • Get busy with your hands: Crosswords, knitting, reading… Anything that you enjoy will help.
  • Something I have heard about but never paid attention to – apparently it helps to light scented candles. I suppose the aroma of Vanilla for example will give you some kind of satisfaction. Try it and see if it works for you.

If you are really giving in, then go for something that will not make you feel bad afterwards. I love tomatoes so I always have some in the fridge just in case.

I’m sure there are many more ideas that you found work for you – If you like post them below or in the forum to help fellow members.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

NEW: High Tea at Whitekirk

Enjoy a delicious High Tea at Whitekirk Golf & Country Club for £13.25 per person…

Traybake
Mini tarts
Scones with jam and clotted cream
Sandwiches
Tea or coffee

Autumn Apple and Celeriac Soup

Nights are drawing in and, well let’s face it, the autumn is upon us! here’s one of our favourite autumnal soups.

Serves 4 / easy to make / 15 mins max

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Celeriac Medium
  • 1/2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 Onion Medium Raw
  • 1/2 Vegetable Stock Cube – Low Salt
  • 200 ml Water
  • 1 Cooking Apples – Medium

Directions

  • Heat a pan over a medium heat and add a splash of oil to it.
  • Add in the diced onions and crushed garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes until soft.
  • Then add in the peeled and diced celeriac, cored and diced apple, water and stockcube to the pan.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes until the celeriac is soft.
  • Then blend the mixture with a soup stick or in a blender until smooth and creamy.
  • Season to taste and stir in the chopped parsley. Serve in a bowl with the rye bread.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Back on Track Detox

OK, school’s back and it’s time to get back on track. Why not try a detox?

Some sceptics say the body detoxes itself anyway, so why bother? Well, there is no question this is true. Detoxification is an ongoing process; if it didn’t happen we wouldn’t be alive!

The challenge these days is that most people accumulate so many toxins from food, drink, stress and pollution, the resulting ‘toxic signals’ such as aches and pains, irritable bowel, skin complaints, excess weight, mood swings and fatigue start to kick in.

On my detox programme, weight loss is generally 2-3lbs a week. If you add in the turbo detox days then that can increase to 5lbs a week with a really noticeable shifting of weight gain, especially around the middle.

A detox contains a high percentage of raw food. Why? Enzymes are mostly present in raw foods, and they initiate the process of digestion in the mouth and stomach. Raw food is nature’s neat little bundle, complete with tools to assist its absorption in its most valuable form without robbing the body’s finite resources.

Put simply, eat raw food to stay on the right side of the energy equation. According to the late Dr. Edward Howell, a noted pioneer in the field of enzyme research, a diet lacking in enzymes (a typical Western diet) is associated with shortened life span, illness and lowered resistance to stress. If the science doesn’t convince you then take a look at the still stunning Demi Moore, a raw food devotee!

Amanda Hamilton’s detox

  • Fruit – including fresh, frozen, dried or canned in natural fruit juice. If you are having any of the following: sultanas, raisins, pineapple, mango, bananas, ensure it is a small portion (half a banana, tbsp of dried fruit, cup of cubed pineapple or mango).
  • Vegetables – eat plenty! At least half of your dinner plate should be vegetable based. It is easier than you might think since you always add a side salad, make a large salad-based dinner, add a starter of a vegetable based  soups and choose main meals with a high proportion of vegetables such as stir-fries. Vegetables should be varied as much as possible and can include fresh, frozen or canned (without any added salt).
  • Beans and lentils – dried or canned in water (without any added salt).
  • Tofu, soya beans and organic eggs.
  • Unsalted nuts – only eat in small portions, just one small handful per day.
  • Fresh fish – any, but limit seafood and tuna to a maximum of once a week.
  • Lean meat such as chicken, 2-3 times a week only. Focus more on vegetable based meals.
  • Unsalted seeds such as found in seed shakers – up to one tablespoon per day.
  • Brown rice and noodles, rice cakes, oats and oatcakes instead of all other carbohydrates.
  • Plain popcorn – one small cupful per serving, without sugar or salt for movie night at home. Pret a Manger sell a good skinny popcorn if you are heading to the cinema.
  • Live natural yoghurt. Organic milk in small amounts. A thin spread of butter is also fine. A topping of goat’s cheese on salads or some parmesan shavings are fine. Avoid cheese in general.
  • Flavour food with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, fresh herbs, ground black pepper and drizzles of honey or agave.
  • Drink water, at least two litres a day. Enjoy herbal or fruit teas. You can have fruit juice but not neat, dilute as if it is a cordial.

Don’t Eat the Following:

  • Red meat – any meat products like sausages and burgers
  • Cream, margarine, flavoured yoghurts, ice cream
  • Potatoes
  • Any foods that contain wheat like bread and biscuits
  • Crisps and savoury snacks, including salted nuts
  • Sugar and sugary foods like chocolate, jam, sweets. Jam naturally sweetened with apple juice and agave or honey are suitable alternatives.
  • Processed foods that contain salt, sugar and fat, like takeaways
  • Alcohol (it is only for 14 days!)
  • Coffee and tea
  • Sauces, pickles, shop-bought salad dressings and mayonnaise
  • Salt
  • Fizzy drinks, squashes and diet drinks

So, a Typical Day’s Menu?

Breakfasts:

  • Porridge made with half water, half milk, topped with a tablespoon of crushed nuts and a drizzle of honey. Alternative, chop in half a banana and add a dollop of natural yoghurt.
  • Fruit salad with natural live yoghurt sprinkled with oats and wheatgerm for extra stress-busting B vitamins.
  • Fruit smoothie made with fruit, natural yoghurt and sweetened with agave.
  • Sugar-free Muesli with skimmed or semi-skimmed organic milk.
  • Fresh fruit and natural live yoghurt sweetened with honey.

Lunches:

  • Lentil or non-creamy soup (either homemade or supermarket ‘fresh’) with oatcakes or rice cakes followed by a punnet of berries and yoghurt.
  • Avocado and walnut salad, drizzled with balsamic vinegar and lemon juice served with a baked sweet potato.
  • Homemade tzatziki (natural live yoghurt, garlic, cucumber and lemon juice) with vegetable crudites and oatcakes.
  • Shop-bought options include most pre-made salads, just add extra green leaves on the side. A large mug of soup helps to fill out a smaller lunch.
  • Baked potato with protein based filling such as beans, tuna or chicken.

Dinners:

  • Chinese veggie stir-fry. Stir fry a selection of veggies like bok choi, spring onions, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and beansprouts, in a little extra virgin olive oil with garlic and ginger. Add in a small handful of raw cashew nuts and serve with cup of cooked brown rice.
  • Lean chicken stir fry. Stir fry a selection of veggies, like onions, mushrooms, peppers, courgette and leeks in a little extra virgin olive oil.
    Serve with rice noodles.
  • Bean casserole. Fry a selection of typical casserole veggies like onion, carrots and parsnip in a little extra virgin olive oil with some garlic. When browned, add vegetable stock, black pepper and your favourite beans.
    Bring to the boil and simmer until ready.
  • Sweet and sour stir fry. Stir fry a selection of veggies like onions, peppers, baby sweetcorn and mushrooms. Add canned pineapple (in fruit juice), canned tomatoes, tomato puree, white wine vinegar and honey. Bring to the boil and simmer until ready. Serve with rice noodles.
  • Baked salmon with a small cup of cooked brown rice and a selection of steamed vegetables.

Snacks:

Just as your home or office can become dusty and dirty, so your body can become clogged up with toxins and waste matter from the environment around you.

When our bodies are clean and strong they are able to eliminate toxins efficiently, but when they become overloaded they become sluggish. Only by clearing away excess toxins on a regular basis can the entire body become revitalised and rejuvenated.

Rather than ‘starve’ the body, a detox feeds the system with high levels of vitamins and minerals. Although your calorie intake is very low, your nutrient intake is super-high. Detoxing for more than 2 days should be done under supervision (see amandahamilton.co.uk for more information). Aim to do this detox once a month, or up to once a week if you are very keen!

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

August Smoothie Recipe

No better thing than to get that Nutribullet a whirring this summer – no better way as well to get that natural intake of five a day and other essential nutrients.

Here’s a delicious and easy to make smoothie. Sharp and full of antioxidants!

Easy to make/takes 5 minutes/serves one

Ingredients

  • Apple juice (150ml)
  • 1 medium apple (like a lovely Golden Delicious)
  • A few celery sticks
  • 1 pear
  • Low fat yoghurt (50ml)

Directions

Place all prepared ingredients into a blender or food processor and whizz until smooth.
Add mineral water to reach your desired consistency if required.

Pour into a glass and serve.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

(Nearly) Time to get “back on track”

It’s that time when – I hear it all the time in clinics – we’re all beginning to get a little bloated from summer holiday trash eating. Well, if not trash with all those stops at motorway service stations, then certainly from those all-you-can-eat fests that seem to be “trending” in so many a packaged holiday destination.

Fact is, your stomach takes a trashing this time of year. Not for nothing is the school’s back known amongst many mum (and dad) as the cue to “get back on track” diet and gym season. So much so, indeed that many a gym call it exactly this “season”.

So, in matters gastric let’s dwell in this piece upon the importance of our digestive system for our functioning and overall health, and the many processes that all interplay to maintain a state of balance (or homeostasis) within our body. The digestive system is the source of all that we require for our daily living, including the nutrients that we need to grow and mature.

It is of such importance to be aware of our digestive system and enable it to flow so it can work at its best. As Hippocrates knew nearly two and a half thousand years ago – most disease originates in the digestive system. This includes both physical and mental disease.

Examples of such physical problems are autoimmune and inflammatory diseases and conditions such as Crohn’s disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lupus and chronic skin conditions and mind diseases such as autism, OCD, depression and learning disabilities.

The key factors to enable good digestion include:

  • Quality – whether the food is fresh, clean, and pure
  • Condition of the food – whether it’s raw, cooked, warm, or cold
  • Quantity – how much
  • Timing – when you eat
  • Manner – how you eat
  • Appropriateness – whether the food is compatible with our digestive capacity and relevant to our nutritional requirements

It is quite obvious that the type of food and drink we consume has a big impact upon our health. However, previously when I was eating nutritious food that I knew was good for me, the resultant signals from my body were quite the opposite… and this I couldn’t understand!

This is because a very closely associated factor to what we consume is what is happening and how we are feeling when we are consuming. These two factors make a huge difference on how the body deals with what we are providing it with.

I know for me that when I have been feeling stressed, eaten in a hurry, or eaten when I am focussing on something else it plays havoc with my gut! Gas, bloating, cramps and either constipation or loose stools seem to follow – this is my body telling me in a very firm way that it objected to the manner in which I had put the food into my body!

I faced this reaction because the body was in the sympathetic state of fight or flight, in which all blood and energy is diverted away from the digestive process and into the muscles and where it would be needed to fight or run. If the body considers that it is in danger, it will not concentrate on digestion, but on survival!

So, although it can be difficult sometimes to eat in the most perfect situation , I very much try and avoid eating when stressed / in a rush, but if I feel I need to do so, I have soothing, warm and easy to digest foods such as soups or stews.

In explaining this to my clients, I suggest that they take at least 5 minutes down time before they eat, to breathe deeply, think positive thoughts about the day and let the body prepare for the food it is about to receive. By eating in this mindful manner, the body will thank us for the good nourishment, rather than being annoyed that we have interrupted it from trying to survive!

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Frozen Raspberry Yoghurt with Quick Muesli

My freezer is full of surprises. A secret hide away for food which I buy because I can’t leave it behind. Freeze because I don’t necessarily need it. And subsequently forget about until one day I go digging for something totally unrelated, only to rediscover purchases I have made, frozen and forgotten about.

Nodding your head in agreement by any chance? I am certain I am not the only person that does this!
Such was the case with this very large bag of plump, ripe, ready to be devoured raspberries which I discovered in my freezer. I love blitzing fresh fruit with yogurt, making my own version of homemade fruity yoghurts. This is much the same, but a frozen version. All you need is a blender.

Ingredients (Serves 1):

  • 4 heaped tbsp of Low Fat Natural yogurt
  • 1 heaped tbsp of frozen (or fresh) raspberries
  • 1 tsp of crushed walnuts
  • 1 tsp of crushed pecan nuts
  • 1 tsp of sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp of flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp of jumbo oats
  • 2-3 dates, chopped

Method:

  • Blend the yogurt and raspberries in a blender until smooth.
  • Mix all the nuts, dates and oats in a bowl.
  • Present the yogurt topped with the muesli, and garnish with a whole walnut.
  • If you like different kinds of nuts and seeds by all means adapt the recipe to suit your tastes.

Delicious, wholesome and natural – a perfect start to your day!

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Tackling Depression…at the gym

Mid-life and you’ll not take long to either suffer from or know someone who suffers from depression. One of my best friends just – in her words – “came out” and admitted to experiencing suicidal thoughts over the last decade. What is less known in this world of prozac and medical intervention is the vital role of exercise and activity in prevention.

It is well known that exercise is good for our physical health – as well as burning calories, strengthening muscles, boosting our metabolism and immune system, keeping us trim and helping us to avoid obesity, it can also reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, strokes and type two diabetes.

So that’s certainly an impressive range of physical health benefits. But what about the emotional, mental and psychological benefits?

If exercise really can reduce stress and anxiety, as has been extensively claimed and reported, is it realistic to assume that it has the potential to ease the symptoms of more profound and chronic mental health issues? Can people prone to depression really help themselves by taking a brisk jog, swimming a few lengths of their local pool, getting on their bike or even just walking the dog a few times a week?
The evidence is divided. There is no doubt that exercise releases ‘feel good’ and ‘energising’ chemicals in your brain (endorphins such as serotonin and hormones like adrenaline and dopamine), which can instantly lift mood and, if undertaken regularly, exercise can boost self-esteem and motivation and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better.

Research generally suggests that exercise might be therapeutic in some cases of depression, but it is by no means a preventative measure or reliable treatment on its own. In 2004, however, The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) proposed guidelines suggesting that people with mild to moderate depression would benefit from up to three exercise sessions per week.

Perhaps the key here is ‘mild to moderate’ depression – but how exactly is this differentiated from more severe forms of depression, and exactly how much exercise is enough to make a noticeable difference? These are questions that are not likely to receive an overwhelming consensus of opinion among medical professionals and mental health experts, nor from those who suffer from depression and who have tried both conventional medical and prescribed or self-selected physical exercise treatments.

Quoted on the NHS website, Dr Alan Cohen, a GP with a special interest in mental health, says that when people get depressed or anxious, they often feel they’re not in control of their lives: “Exercise gives them back control of their bodies and this is often the first step to feeling in control of other events… Anyone with depression can benefit from doing regular exercise, and any type of exercise is useful as long as it suits you and you do enough of it…”

He goes on to say that exercise is “especially useful for people with mild depression”, which concurs with the NICE proposals, and that it “should be something you enjoy. Otherwise it will be hard to find the motivation to do it regularly.”

This is a pertinent point. One of the major symptoms of depression – even of mild to moderate depression, which many researchers do agree can certainly be helped with exercise – is a total lack of motivation, strength and energy, which can sometimes be so extreme as to be debilitating and life-restricting. Indeed, this is one of clinical depression’s key symptoms.

This obviously and understandably has a serious impact on an individual’s willingness and propensity to participate in any form of regular exercise regime, and could present something of a Catch-22 situation. Even if you know that exercise will potentially make you feel better, and even if it has been strongly recommended by your GP, it is unlikely that you will even consider taking this advice if you already feel so demotivated and depressed that you cannot bear the thought of undertaking any kind of physical activity. Many people with depression are prescribed anti-depressants of course, and exercise should not replace such medication but rather be used in conjunction with it, as part of a range of beneficial self-help lifestyle changes.

Controversially, a study conducted by the British Journal of Sports Medicine back in 2000 (source: ivillage.co.uk) did conclude that exercise can in fact be “more effective than drugs in treating mild to moderate depression”.

The research was led by Dr Fernando Dimeo at the Freie University in Berlin, who stated that “Physical activity has the same effect as antidepressants… aerobic exercise stimulates neurotransmitters in our brain to produce serotonin (a feel good endorphin)… And unlike antidepressants, exercise has no negative side-effects.”

This view contrasts sharply with research published in the British Medical Journal earlier this year, which claimed that doing a physical activity combined with usual medication did not reduce the symptoms of depression more than the medication alone.

An interesting summary of the conflicting evidence around exercise and its effects on depression can be read in Martin Robbins’ Psychology blog in The Guardian, while Simon Hattenstone and Mark Rice-Oxley, both depressives themselves, argue that “exercise is no panacea for depression – but it keeps it at bay” and that “many people who have lived with depression feel the benefits of a trip to the gym, or even a spot of gardening”.

What are your thoughts? Has exercise helped you to overcome depression, or to cope better with stress? Always consult your doctor before embarking on an exercise programme, particularly if you have an existing diagnosis.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

A Pain in the Back

There I was about to go stand-up paddle boarding off Gullane beach with my girlfriends and just as I pick up the board, ping, a spasm goes through my back. I’m still hobbling a fortnight later.

Back pain can range from a twinge in the lower back brought on by lifting something awkwardly, to chronic upper back pain from sitting at a computer all day, to excruciating disc damage, and everything in between. It has many possible causes, but one thing’s for certain – exercise almost always does more help than harm.

A healthy back

Your back has a pretty tough job to do day-to-day. Even if you’re sitting at a desk, your spine and its surrounding bones and muscles have to work hard to keep you upright! Muscle strength (particularly in the ‘core’ muscles around your abdomen), good posture and flexibility are all important for preventing injury and pain.

When something goes wrong

In 2011, musculoskeletal problems such as back pain accounted for 35 million lost working days in the UK, and it’s thought that at any one time 11.9% of women are experiencing back pain. As there are so many different structures (ligaments, bones and muscles) in your back, it’s always best to see your doctor or a physiotherapist if you hurt your back. This will help you address the root cause as quickly as possible and help avoid the risk of longer-term problems.

If you’ve been experiencing pain for a long time, this video on understanding pain might be really helpful.

When you’re in pain, work might not be the best place for you (especially if heavy lifting or computer work take up the bulk of your day), but that doesn’t mean that sitting with your feet up is the best plan. It’s a good idea to keep active as this may help ease muscle spasms.

People who are physically active and participate in regular sport or exercise not only experience better overall health but also better back health

What types of exercise help keep your back healthy?

The UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommends that people with low back pain carry on with normal activities and stay active.  They encourage doctors to recommend a structured exercise programme which may include aerobic activity, muscle strengthening, postural control and stretching as part of treatment.

The following advice is general, but should help if you’re experiencing niggling pains, stiffness and tension in your back. Essentially, it’s important to strengthen the supporting muscles around your back at the same time as loosening tight muscles that may be pulling your back out of alignment. This could include:

Aerobic activity

Walking is a great way to stay fit, but focus on maintaining a good posture. It’s natural to feel scared about doing something that might hurt your back, so work within the limits of your pain, and build up gradually.

Muscle strengthening

Rather than going for the fixed weights machines in the gym, where your body is fully supported (and your back doesn’t have to do much work), concentrate on multi-joint movements where you are actually using your core muscles to support your body. Your gym instructor or PT at Whitekirk will be able to explain how to do this safely.

An example could include working out with Kettlebells – one study found that a supervised full-body kettlebell workout, three times a week, reduced pain in the neck, shoulders and lower back within eight weeks. This is because kettlebell exercises work the posterior muscle chain – the back, bum and hamstrings – which tends to be weak in desk workers.  But if your back pain is severe, it may be better to stick with static exercises such as wall squats first of all.

Postural control

Exercises like the bridge, back extensions and pelvic tilts help build strength in those all-important core muscles.  Check out WebMD for an explanation of how to do these and which exercises are better avoided.  One recent research study suggests that one weekly session focused on lower back training is enough to benefit strength and reduce pain in people with chronic pain. An alternative is to go to a pilates class run by an experienced instructor – ask them in advance if they can help with your back pain.

Stretching

The final element that will help ease your back and shoulders is to incorporate some gentle stretching. Again, this can be done in a class-based setting, such as yoga, but it’s important to check that the instructor will be able to help you adapt the workout to avoid aggravating any injuries.  Often, back pain is a result of tight muscles in the hips and hamstrings, so ensure you stretch these out after a workout.

Where to get advice

If you’re looking for a personal trainer or fitness instructor, visit REPS for a list of registered exercise instructors with a Level 4 qualification in exercise for the management of lower back pain.  Your doctor may also be able to refer you to an exercise programme run by the NHS.

If you haven’t been exercising regularly for a while, don’t worry if you experience short-term discomfort after a workout. A little pain is normal and just shows that you’ve worked hard! But if the pain doesn’t go away within a couple of days, speak to a fitness instructor or your physiotherapist about how to adapt the exercises to suit you better. Above all, set a goal, start small, and build on your successes week-to-week.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Summer holidays, kids and sugar

A dynamite combination, you would rightly think. Haribos, ice creams, pizzas and crisps on the beach. Motorway service station food until you get there. If you’re a parent you know the holiday form.

You may have heard of blood sugar before, perhaps in reference to diabetes or the glycemic index (GI), and keeping your blood sugar steady is vital for weight loss.

Controlling blood sugar is easy when you understand the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates.

The main difference between simple and complex carbohydrates is what happens to them in the body once you’ve consumed them. Simple carbohydrates promote weight gain, whereas complex carbohydrates help you maintain or even lose weight.

Sugar – white or brown – is a simple carbohydrate. Examples of other simple carbohydrates include fruit juice, milk, yogurt, honey, molasses and maple syrup.

Simple carbohydrates, which are also known as refined sugars, are often hidden within ‘diet’ or ‘low fat’ products, so you must get label-savvy in order to detect them. These simple carbohydrates are broken down and digested very quickly, and contain very few essential vitamins and minerals.

Examples of complex carbohydrates include vegetables, wholegrain breads, legumes, brown rice and wholemeal pasta. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and are packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals – all of which are helpful for life-changing weight loss.

The first part of the sugar story is quite scary. When you eat a simple carbohydrate, an alarm is triggered that tells your body there is sugar in your blood. Your body responds to this sudden rush of sugar by releasing a hormone called insulin, which brings down your blood sugar levels by putting a form of sugar called glucose into either your cells for burning or into your liver or muscles for storage. So far, so straightforward, right? The trouble is, when you eat a lot of sugar regularly, this insulin response becomes overloaded, resulting in the sugar being more readily stored as fat. Eating simple carbohydrates rather than complex carbohydrates will lead to weight gain.

The second part of the sugar story is even scarier. Every time a simple carbohydrate triggers the release of insulin in your body, your cells have to react. However, if the presence of sugar in your blood becomes the norm, rather than an infrequent and special occurrence, over time your cells tire of this constant demand and become less sensitive to the insulin. This means glucose is not put into the cells, where it can be used up and burnt, so more of the sugary food you eat is stored as fat. To add insult to injury, the final blow to weight loss is that insulin is also known to hinder the stored fat from being burnt as an energy source. In other words, not only does sugar make you fatter, it will keep you that way!

Type II Diabetes, sometimes called Adult Onset Diabetes, occurs when the body becomes resistant to the amount of insulin flooding the system. Reducing the insulin reduces the risk. Because the 28-day plan focuses on natural foods (such as healthy proteins and fibrous fruits and vegetables) and recommends the reduction of most processed grains, you may experience a natural reduction in blood sugar.

So as you head in to the summer holidays, have a think about keeping it real and raw and fresh when it comes to food, snacks and drinks and you’ll probably have slightly less sugar-high kids!

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Whitekirk Golf & Country Club Work Commencement Paper

Golf Coast PLC Announcement

10th June 2015

Golf Coast PLC are delighted to announce that construction works for the new hotel at Whitekirk Golf & Country Club have commenced on site.

The development project will see the creation of a new 4* 100 bed hotel complex complete with car parking, infrastructure and the upgrade / reconfiguration of the existing property.

As part of the development a new green keepers accommodation will be constructed along with the restructure of the golf course to fit in line with Paul Lawrie’s vision and redesign plans.

The development will also see the construction of a new high tech Training Academy which will have 10 open frontage bays complete with 4 closed pro teach bays.

Scott Weatherby Director of Development for Golf Coast PLC adds:

“We are delighted to be part of the team who have worked tirelessly over the past few years in bringing this exciting and much needed facility to Whitekirk.

We would again take the opportunity to thank all our partners, members, guests and staff for their commitment to date and look forward to the completion of the new development.”

Works are scheduled to be on site for circa 78 weeks.

END.

Picture: Scott Weatherby Director of Development for Golf Coast PLC on site at the construction of the new 1st tee

New hotel development construction works commencing 8th June 2015

Golf Coast PLC, Whitekirk Consortium, Whitekirk Developments, Prestige Hotel Management & Whitekirk Golf & Country Club are pleased to confirm that construction works for the new hotel are due to commence on site Monday the 8th June 2015.

Scott Weatherby Director of Developments for Golf Coast PLC states,

“It is with delight that on behalf of Golf Coast PLC and the full team at Whitekirk Golf & Country Club to announce that the construction works for new hotel development shall commence on site on the 8th June 2015.

I would also take the opportunity to thank all our development and operational partners who have worked on the Project to date and look forward in welcoming all our guests to the new facility in the near future.

I would also like to thank our dedicated members who have provided continued support and I hope the new facilities being constructed are a just reward for their patience and support through the years.”

Spring Super Salad!

Serves 4

This may seem like a strange flavour combination, and indeed it probably is. In all of its strangeness it is absolutely delicious.

Coriander and orange are wonderful together, the addition of crunchy raw beetroot transforms this combination once again, taking it to another level completely. You don’t really need a dressing here as the juice from the beetroot and orange is sufficient. All you need is a little drizzle of olive oil, and some seasoning. The saltiness of the halloumi is the perfect balance for the slightly sweeter tones in the salad. It is light, zingy, fresh, healthy and also surprisingly filling.

Ingredients

  1. 3 small or 2 large raw beetroot
  2. 2 oranges, segmented
  3. 1 large bunch of coriander, chopped roughly
  4. 1 pack of halloumii cheese
  5. Olive oil
  6. Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. Peel the beetroot, cut in half and slice as finely as possible. A mandolin would be useful here if you have it.
  2. To segment the orange, slice off the top and bottom of the orange. Using a very sharp knife, slice the skin off all around the orange, removing all of the pith. Now slice out each segment one by one. This gives you a very clean shape without any pith.
  3. Place the beetroot, orange and roughly chopped coriander in a bowl and mix with a small drizzle of olive oil. Season with some salt and pepper.
  4. Slice the halloumi into 1/2 cm pieces. Put a char grill on a high heat. When hot, char grill the halloumi for a minute or two on each side, until nicely browned.
  5. Serve the salad topped with a few slices of halloumi cheese.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Spring Soup!

Green Pea & Fennel Soup

Serves 4

Just a lovely soup for this time of year; only fresh peas, really and fennel. Pop down to Knowes Farm and get your ingredients!

Ingredients

1/4 cloves Garlic
1/4 Onion Medium Raw
1.25 Fennel Medium
70 g Peas – Frozen or Fresh
1.5 sprigs Parsley Fresh
1/2 Vegetable Stock Cube – Low Salt
240 ml Water
2 slice Wholemeal Bread

Instructions

  1. Heat a splash of oil in a pan and add in the diced onion and minced garlic. Fry until golden over a medium heat.
  2. Add in the sliced fennel and fry for another 2 minutes.
  3. Then add in the water, stockcube and peas and bring to the boil.
  4. Once boiled simmer for 10 minutes and blend until smooth.
  5. Season to taste and serve in a bowl with some chopped fresh parsley on the top and the sliced wholemeal bread on the side.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

All work and no play = a diet challenge?

I have done a lot at work in the past weeks; staying late, working from home in the evenings and at weekends etc. However I found that this does not influence me in a bad way – I find it much easier sticking to the plan when I am busy.

Since my day is very structured, I know the approximate times when I should have my snacks and lunch – and otherwise it is too busy to even think about food. Then coming home after a long day I usually had dinner before collapsing straight into bed to rest before another stressful day – so no danger of late night snacking. I feel that I struggle most with the diet the more free time I have.

Last week promised to be challenging with a client dinner in London. I got in the office at 8am, then took a flight to London at 4 o’clock that afternoon and hurried on to the restaurant. I had made plans to make wise choices for dinner and think I did alright; the starter was asparagus with some sauce hollandaise and rocket, for main course I chose scallops in mussel jus with avocado and some wild rice. So far so good. Tiny portions at extortionate prices – but who cares, it wasn’t me paying, after all. So when everyone opted for a dessert I could not resist.

And I enjoyed it – it was a lovely dessert. I tend not to make myself feel bad if I have something sweet – it will just make you feel depressed and eat even more out of desperation. So next time you can’t resist the dessert and you have otherwise made good choices, why should you forbid this yourself? Enjoy the evening and get back on plan in the morning.

In this instance it was not so easy to get back on plan in the morning. After four hours sleep I had to catch a flight back to Glasgow and was back at work for 10am. I had not considered at all that I would not have any food with me that day so had to opt for a tomato based pasta lunch from the nearby supermarket and skipped snacks. After work we headed off to a colleagues’ housewarming where again I tried to make better decisions by not drinking too much. After all I have not had the snacks so a cider/GNT was probably ok.

And on Saturday I got up late, did not eat until the late afternoon etc… So all in all I was decidedly ‘off plan’ for about three days, and so dreaded the worst when I got on the scales on Sunday morning. But no – I had not gained weight at all, in fact I went down slightly compared to the week before and was naturally very happy about that. It appears this is a very forgiving diet if you don’t go absolutely nuts with food.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Weight loss and detox

In ten years’ experience of the detox and diet business, spring is often the big time for a freshen up – wardrobe, liver, body, you name it, it’s all about freshening up.

The truth about weight loss and detox – and why chemicals can make you fat by Amanda Hamilton

The big business of helping people get smaller – the diet industry – has a wealth that stretches beyond borders. From Mumbai to Melbourne, diet foods and diet fads hit headlines as celebrity endorsements sing their praises, but most come and go, much like the weight loss and gain itself.

The reason the diet ‘industry’ is wealthy is of course that people don’t get long term results and need to keep coming back for more advice, more products or more “miracle” cures.

My role as a clinical nutritionist over the last decade has driven me in the opposite direction – to seek a long-lasting approach. Mind you, as a high-profile BBC TV female presenter I understand the need for fast results, particularly in the world of celebrity where extra pounds can mean the difference between a big contract or struggle to find work. Feedback from fans in this Twitter age of ours can be especially instant and direct!

Work with clients and celebrities has taught me that a little knowledge goes a long way to help people understand their pattern of weight gain and wellbeing.

Our bodies have evolved over millions of years to cope with a whole host of threats yet our recent history has changed the landscape of our lives completely. Billions of kilos of man-made chemicals make their way into the eco-system of the planet 24 hours a day, which means that every day the average man and woman are absorbing a multitude of chemicals every day. Until 150 years ago, these chemicals did not exist, but now they are found in food, drugs (both social and medical), water, air, cosmetics, the soil, and household goods.

If you are like the majority of people I see in my clinics or on my detox retreats, your body could be struggling with a range of basic functions such as digestion, immunity and weight control that can be traced back to a lifestyle that is continually putting your body under toxic stress. Your skin, too, is a reflection of your internal health, so if is not glowing and peachy then it’s time to take action.
The majority of people will fall into one of the following two categories:

Type 1: You eat according to healthy guidelines most of the time, you go to the gym or take regular exercise. Basically, you do most things ‘right’ according to what you have read and watched on television, and yet you still don’t look or feel amazing. It could be an irritating problem that just won’t go away: perhaps a few pounds that just won’t shift, or skin that suffers from outbreaks of spots or rashes every now and then. It could be any niggling issue – it does not mean that you are ill but that you have not yet reached your full, healthy potential.

Type 2: You are suffering from a 21st-century condition that, no matter what medication you have taken or advice you have followed, it just won’t go away. By 21st-century condition I mean that the symptom or symptoms you are experiencing are lifestyle related. Here’s a shortlist of the most common: IBS or other digestive complaints; weight gain; Candida (thrush); fungal infections; cystitis; headaches; mood swings; fatigue; allergies; hormone imbalances; infertility or recurrent miscarriages; chronic fatigue; high blood pressure; Type II diabetes or Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar); skin problems; high cholesterol; emotional eating; stress; addictions (to sugar, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol); insomnia; painful joints.

What do each one of these conditions and complaints have in common? An answer is that they are all related to the level of toxins that have built up in your body. Symptoms will vary according to each individual’s genetic predisposition and how much they have been exposed to toxins, but the source of the problem is the same.

A toxic body will be sluggish, prone to cellulite and will often seem to retain excess weight no matter how little you eat. The chemicals in processed foods are now known to interfere with hormones that are vital for weight control, the link between ‘diet’ sodas and long term weight gain are a good example of this.

If you consume a lot of processed foods, chances are your body is also too acidic.  This doesn’t mean you are suffering from heartburn (although that is also possible) but rather that the delicate pH balance of the blood is out of sync, leaving you more prone to developing disease.  This toxic state is well known within the wisdom of Ayurveda.

The real solution here is to help our body from the inside out.  Your main fat burning organ is the liver.  If you have a diet high in chemicals, or indeed are exposed to excess chemicals in other ways (for example medication, drugs, pollution) then you need to detox your liver for long-term weight loss and increased energy.

Detox need not mean going without some of your familiar or favourite foods.  In fact, many people find detox to be the easiest ��diet’ they have ever been on.  My approach is to combine a nutritional plan with a specialist supplement programme – the most intensive version of which – and therefore the most dramatic results – I run on my detox retreats.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Add a sun salutation to your gym routine

One of the best exercises for assisting your body to keep supple, flexible and cleanse itself is yoga. The positions through which the body moves during the practice of yoga, help to massage the organs of elimination and increase oxygenation of the tissues.

A Whole Lotta History

Yoga works on balancing the mind and the body in an incredibly powerful way. Don’t worry if you feel you are inflexible or are a complete beginner, this simple sequence of yoga postures, called Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation, are 12 postures performed in a single, graceful flow. Traditionally, it is performed at dawn, facing the rising sun, and it is most effective as a sequence used to begin the day. It limbers up the whole body and gets the energy flowing. Even if you manage just one sequence you will feel the difference.

Where should I practise?

Yoga should be practised in silence because the rhythm of the breath is important. In other words, no television or radio noises in the background! Each movement is coordinated with the breath. Inhale as you extend or stretch, and exhale as you fold or contract.

The Sun Salutation Series

Try the Sun Salutation series below, to add a range of stretching postures to your detox. A single round of the series consists of two complete sequences: one for the right side of the body and the other for the left. One complete round takes approximately 3-4 minutes so aim to do at least two rounds every morning.

  • Exhale and stand tall.
  • Inhale and sweep your hands above your head.
  • Exhale and bend forward with your head toward your shins.
  • Inhale and step your right leg back into a deep lunge.
  • Exhale and step your left leg back into the plank position. Hold in position. Inhale and pull your tummy in.
  • Inhale and bend your arms into a press-up position, keeping your elbows in close to your body. (You can have your knees on the floor if you wish.)
  • Inhale and stretch forward and up, arching your back. Use your arms to lift your torso as far as feels comfortable. Keep your shoulders down. Your hands should be in front of your hips. Look upwards.
  • Exhale and tuck your toes under. Lift your bottom back, and press back into an upside-down V shape.
  • Inhale and step your right foot forward between your hands and knees. Exhale and do the same with the left foot.
  • On the same exhale, bring your feet together and straighten your legs, head to shins.
  • Inhale, stand up slowly and return to your starting position.
  • Repeat the series, starting with your left leg.

yoga2 (2)

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Cook Once, Eat Twice

Sustainability is a big buzz word at the moment as the world continues to discuss humanities carbon footprint.

So far the politicians and scientists have mainly been focused on big industry, mining and travel sectors. But from the beginning we have been encouraged to think about our own sustainability inside the home.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s solar power and recycling were the big issues, and both are household names now. Many houses rely on solar energy, and most households and business are recycling on a regular basis.

But now the conversations are moving towards food sustainability and consumer responsibility. Individual shoppers are being encouraged to become conscience consumers and purchase on a moralistic basis.

But there is one simple trick to reducing your carbon footprint and your moral burdens. And the great thing is it will reduce your shopping bill too!

According to the website Lovefoodhatewaste.com British homes toss up to 7.2 million tonnes of food each year – perfectly good food that could have been eaten. They claim that putting a bit more thought into your kitchen can save that food, and put it on your plate, not in your bin. And they claim that by following a few simple tips you can save £50 on your monthly food bill!

Using the weekly meal planner you should be able to completely do away with waste, however if you are in need of some extra guidance, here are some top-tips for saving your food, your wallet, and the environment!

Get to know your fridge and freezer.

If you are constantly aware of the due by dates and use-bys you need never toss out food again! Every two days you should be checking the dates and freezing anything you wouldn’t be eating in time. For large packs, like bacon or chicken pieces, simply divide into portions and freeze. Dairy is a hard one, so be creative. Use up excess yoghurt in fruit pots or smoothies, and cheese can be a nice topping to a meal (just keep to portion sizing).

Build leftovers into your weekly planning.

Are you having a roast on Sunday? Then think of all the other meals you can make out of it. Stir-fry’, curries and salads are great ways to use up those left meats. Roast on Sunday, salad on Monday, curry on Tuesday and stirfry on Wednesday! That is three meals from one.

Make some ‘ready-meals for one’.

If you have too much left in your pot then pop it in the fridge or freezer. It cuts down on waste, and it cuts down on having to buy ready meals from the shops. Keeping a variety of healthy homemade meals on hand will help you stay on track both financially and in terms of weight loss.

Get fruity with it!

The bane of many a well-meaning fruit bowl is the black spots that appear seemingly overnight and take over the entire stock. But you don’t need to toss them. Make banana bread for the kids lunch boxes, or put it into a smoothie. Ditto on the apples, cut the black bits off and add to the blender. Alternatively cut them into wedges and toss them in the pan with pork.

By becoming familiar with your food you can truly minimise your waste in the kitchen. Look after your pocket and look after yourself at the same time.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Thoughts and pointers on those high dining moments!

Eating out is pretty great, you can relax while someone else does all the hard work. Post easter is all about getting back on track after the chocolate and holiday blitz so I’ve got some advice for you on how to behave when it comes to ordering your meal, and also some advice to specific cuisines.

Take control

Make sure it’s you who suggests which restaurant you go to. Home-cooked Indian food can be fine while you’re dieting, but restaurant-cooked Indian food often uses ghee, packed with hydrogenated fat, and it’s going to do you no favours. Ditto where olive oil is concerned in some Italian restaurants. Stick to Thai, fish restaurants or experiment with the more unusual Lebanese or Jamaican cuisines.

Avoid the snack attack

If you must snack on something before your meal arrives, make it olives. They’re packed with vitamin E, iron and fibre. Turn down the bread basket to avoid excess empty calories and a horrible bloating feeling the next day.

If you’re a meat eater

Remember red meat isn’t always the fattiest choice. Choose a lean cut and ask for the fat to be trimmed off your steak before cooking and it could contain as little as 4-8g of fat per 100g. The leanest beef cuts are chuck or sirloin steaks and tenderloin. Leaner pork is tenderloin and loin chops. Lamb is often very fatty, so try to avoid it. Skinned poultry has about 1-3g of fat per 100g and white meat (breast) contains less fat than poultry’s darker meat. If the skin has been left on your poultry, leave it on the side of your plate.

Try an alternative

Venison is a great source of low-fat protein and is rich in B vitamins and iron – it contains more iron than beef for fewer calories. It’s often wild, or farmed where the deer have plenty of room to roam. Rabbit meat is making a comeback and is lean, wonderful in a stew and an excellent source of protein, iron, niacin, selenium folate and vitamin B12. Look out for it on the menu.

Don’t starve yourself

Denying yourself food all day before a meal out is asking for disaster. You’ll turn up ravenous at the restaurant and devour far more than you intended. Eat sensibly, but not excessively, throughout the day and have a protein-rich afternoon snack, such as an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter, to stave off hunger pangs.

Cuisines

Italian

The issue with Italian food is the ratio of refined carbohydrates – white pasta, pizza dough, bread sticks – to vegetables or salads. Try to always incorporate a large salad and opt for a half portion of the main meal instead. Alternatively, go against the grain and opt for a fish dish.

French

Not known for holding back on creamy sauces or meat, French cuisine is all about taste. If you are watching your weight, avoid the rich dishes and go for one of the many lighter options. Saying no to the fresh bread is often the biggest challenge in a French restaurant.

Chinese/Thai

For me Asian cooking is the obvious healthy choice as it is generally high in vegetables, lightly cooked or steamed and very fresh. However, some Asian food, particularly Chinese, can contain an additive called monosodium glutamate (you might know it better as MSG). MSG is a flavour enhancer that in excess can make people quite sick – so called ‘Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.’ The best thing to do is be bold and ask. In fact, some restaurants these days advertise the fact that their food is ‘MSG free’, so get a big thumbs-up from me! Avoid anything deep fried and go for steamed noodles and rice instead. Fish, vegetables and tofu are the best bet.

Japanese

Japan has the highest number of centurions in the world – and for good reason. The basic Japanese diet is super healthy with lots of vegetables, including sea vegetables that are rich in iodine, a great boost to the metabolism. Be careful of overdoing the raw fish as it can harbour bacteria.

Lebanese

Think hummus, fresh pitta bread, olives, stuffed peppers and vine leaves – it’s veggie heaven! If you’re a meat eater, Middle Eastern food often has fresh lamb on the menu but in a healthy proportion to rice and vegetables. Give it a try!

Greek

Similar to Lebanese food but with the addition of delicious feta cheese (true feta cheese is from a goat or sheep, not from a cow).

Indian

When it’s cooked without too much oil this can be a great option for those who like a bit of spice in their life! Many menus include super-healthy pulses, a mainstay of Indian dishes, such as dhal or dhansak. If you love a bit of naan bread try ordering chapattis instead – they’re much lower in fat and taste great!

Seafood

The rule with seafood is keep it fresh! It’s low in fat but most fish contains a small amount of mercury which can be harmful. Big fish from the ocean contain more harmful chemicals so opt for smaller fish like mackerel or trout.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Amanda interviews Gwen Stefani’s trainer – Mike Heatlie

As I’ve tweeted before, my ultimate body icon is Gwen Stefani. What I admire about her is that she’s honest about the fact that her incredible physique is down to hard work.

A real inspiration, especially for women who’ve had children – Stefani is a mother of two AND has those abs – WOW! I was lucky enough to steal 10 minutes with her trainer, Mike Heatlie who besides being a world leading personal trainer holds three degrees, including two Masters degrees in Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise and Strength and Conditioning. He owns a private Personal Training Studio in Edinburgh.

Are there any real secrets to celebrity bodies such as Gwen’s or is it just down to hard work?

Everyone always seeks the magic pill, that special something that maybe one person or “celebrities” may be doing to lose weight/fat and get into great shape that everyone else isn’t doing. This is why people buy billions of dollars of weight-loss supplements and go on crazy unsustainable diets for a few days/weeks.

The bottom line is that to lose body fat and develop lean muscle tissue to the extent that you look fit and lean takes a lot of hard work, which is why very few of the population look this way, most people are overweight or obese. Does that mean we’re screwed? No it doesn’t. There are plenty of things we can do in terms of dieting and exercise to create a lean figure and feel wonderful about ourselves provided we’re willing to demonstrate a degree of discipline and dedication.

To answer your question directly, the vast majority of celebrities such as Gwen Stefani work their ass off to get in that type of condition. Gwen is the most hard-working client I’ve ever trained, and the results show it. If people saw the work she puts in to look as good as she does then people may say, “well that’s not for me, that’s too much hard work”. Other celebrities such as Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman, Hilary Swank, Lady Gaga etc. all developed their physiques through sheer hard work. Of course they have Personal Trainers to help them but they have to put the work in themselves and diet properly.

How much change in shape can be seen with a focused training regime. Once a pear always a pear?

Dramatic changes can be seen in the vast majority of people who can dedicate themselves to training and dieting but if you have a certain distribution of fat storage in your lower body, or you have a genetic predisposition whereby you do not burn off fat as effectively as another, or you are born with just more fat cells, then this can be problematic. Lower body fat is sometimes referred to as stubborn fat and is a source of real frustration for people, especially women, who diet and train hard but just can’t seem to make too many dents in the fat stored in their hips and legs.

There are more fat cells in the lower body and they seem to react differently to certain hormones than fat cells in other parts of the body. Fat cells, like muscle cells, have receptors known as adrenoreceptors that allow access to adrenaline and noradrenaline.

How many hours do you recommend people train for each week for a. fitness and b. form?

Well the issue is not necessarily time, it’s quality, or intensity. One could train 10 hours per week through low-intensity cycling or three hours per week in a Personal Training session at a much higher intensity and they would do better with the latter.

As an average guide 3-6 hours per week is good enough for both.

I’ve been looking into Intermittent fasting. Is it something you recommend?

Yes I’ve used Intermittent fasting (IF) on many occasions, notably when people need to lose those last 5-10 lbs or to try and stimulate stubborn fat loss. I find that carb/calorie cycling works just as well.

People tend to want black or white, is this good or bad for me? IF works extremely well for some, not so for others, the same with any dieting protocol, you have to do what works best for you. I have one client who fasts every Wednesday, just drinks water, green tea, some amino acids, and that’s it, and that works very well for her. There are many protocols for IF and each individual can use the one that works best for them.

One of the problems I see, or challenges let’s say, is people dealing with low blood sugar levels whilst fasting. We crave carbohydrates more than any other nutrient and when fasting people can crash and make matters worse through splurging on too many carbs, fats and sugars when they feel blood sugar levels dropping too low. I’ve experienced this myself. Two days before a photoshoot I ate two pizzas and a chocolate milkshake! It didn’t affect me as my body was crying out for carbs, but this can make dieting a miserable business hence the yo-yo effect with most dieters.

One of the problems for IF is that the research on it, that is very positive, comes mostly from animal studies, after all who on earth wants to sign up for a study where you don’t eat any food!

I would say that people have to find what works best for them. Grazing or IF both work extremely well as they share, like most diets, a common variable: calorie restriction leading to a negative energy balance especially if exercise is frequent. As with all diets though, the protocol needs to be sustainable so it can be implemented into a lifestyle. Many studies may show a greater weight loss from one diet over another after say 6 or 8 weeks, but what are the results 12-24 months down the road? Many studies don’t follow-up in that manner.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

More healthy lifestyle tips: by Amanda Hamilton

Last week we offered a few top tips to help to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Here are some more…

  • After cooking, eating, working out and finding a mate – the next in line is sleep! Not only might you need a good nights rest after a day like that but sleep is when your body rejuvenates. Too little sleep and your immunity will suffer and you age faster. Try going to bed ½ hr to 1hr earlier than normal and see how much better you feel. Goodnight!
  • If you are cooking a healthy meal, ALWAYS double up on ingredients and freeze a potion or two. Home cooked frozen food is great as a back up – take out the freezer in the morning and it just needs re-heated (not in a microwave which destroys many nutrients).
  • Getting frisky is a great way to boost health, wellbeing and confidence, provided it is with the right person! A healthy sex life can add years to your life expectancy – and the spring can bring out the flirt in all of us. It goes without saying that sex must be safe.
  • If you are the kind of person that succumbs to mid-afternoon snacking on junk then ditch the caffeine which makes you much more prone to cravings and bring fruit / nuts / seeds with you instead. Keep a stash of healthy snacks in the drawer at work.
  • When going out for a meal avoid eating the entire bread basket before the starter even comes! You’ll ruin your good intentions and your appetite. Ask them to ‘hold the bread’ and nibble on olives instead.
  • You have been asked out on a date but don’t want to ditch the diet? Stick to Thia, fish restaurants or experiment with the more unusual Lebanese or Jamican. Avoid Italian, Indian and the greasy spoon should not even get a look in!
  • Get off the treadmill! If you join a gym, don’t be shy. Ask for help with your gym programme and maximise the knowledge of the staff. If you usually drive to your workout could you jog or cycle instead – a perfect warm up and not nearly as boring as watching the minutes tick by on machines.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Healthy lifestyle shortcuts: by Amanda Hamilton

Too busy to go to the gym? Don’t like cooking? Craving a pizza and an easy life?

Sticking to a healthy lifestyle can sometimes become a burden. I have long since ditched the notion of weighing potions and counting calories – it is boring, cumbersome and frankly calorie controlled diets don’t work long term anyway.

SO what are the short cuts you can take to make it easier to get healthier? Here are two weeks of my top tips that cover everything from cooking, eating out, working out and even what to do in the bedroom….

  • If you are cooking a healthy meal, ALWAYS double up on ingredients and freeze a potion or two. Home cooked frozen food is great as a back up – take out the freezer in the morning and it just needs re-heated (not in a microwave which destroys many nutrients).
  • If you are the kind of person that succumbs to mid-afternoon snacking on junk then ditch the caffeine which makes you much more prone to cravings and bring fruit / nuts / seeds with you instead. Keep a stash of healthy snacks in the drawer at work.
  • When going out for a meal avoid eating the entire bread basket before the starter even comes! You’ll ruin your good intentions and your appetite. Ask them to ‘hold the bread’ and nibble on olives instead.
  • You have been asked out on a date but don’t want to ditch the diet? Stick to Thia, fish restaurants or experiment with the more unusual Lebanese or Jamaican. Avoid Italian, Indian and the greasy spoon should not even get a look in!
  • Get off the treadmill! If you join a gym, don’t be shy. Ask for help with your gym programme and maximise the knowledge of the staff. If you usually drive to your workout could you jog or cycle instead – a perfect warm up and not nearly as boring as watching the minutes tick by on machines.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Exercise and stress: by Amanda Hamilton

Exercise comes with an impressive list of health benefits, not least the fact that it’s a well-known stress-buster.

The benefits of exercise almost always outweigh the risks. But sometimes, if you’re trying to lose weight, the temptation is to push yourself to the limits in the hope of maximising calorie burn. If you’ve noticed yourself feeling tired, sore or like you’re running on empty, you could be training too hard. This is when gentle exercise like walking and yoga might be just what the doctor ordered.

Getting the results you want from exercise does mean pushing your body past the point of comfort but, crucially, it is during your recovery that you become fitter and stronger. If you’re determined to get faster or to achieve a lean and toned body, there can be a fine line between training hard enough and over-training.

Exercise works by stressing the body. We are usually well-equipped to adapt to this – when we rest, our bodies repair the damage done during training and get stronger, so that next time, we’ll find the same exercise easier. This enables us to progressively lift heavier weights, run faster, or go further without getting out of breath.

However, training very hard without adequate rest and relaxation – or without enough of the nutrients your body needs to repair itself – can prevent this adaptation from occurring. Training too hard and/or too often can persistently raise the level of the stress hormone, cortisol. This is bad news for your physique and fitness, as it encourages your body to break down muscle tissue.

Other forms of stress also raise cortisol – so while physical activity is one of the best ways to manage stress at home or at work, if you combine long working hours, deadlines, family problems and poor eating habits with extreme exercise, you have a recipe for tipping your body into an exhausted state.

So, how much exercise is too much?

There’s no set volume that’s ‘too much’ – professional athletes manage to train for several hours a day without harm, but their focus between sessions is rest, and their coaches carefully monitor them to ensure they get the balance right. In contrast, a sleep-deprived mum or stressed worker could tip the balance towards ‘too much’ with just a few hours of hard training a week. The main thing to take note of is how you feel.

Are you experiencing several of these symptoms?
●    Feeling tired all the time, or lacking in energy
●    Finding it difficult to sustain your effort level during exercise
●    Low mood; sleep problems
●    Frequent colds or sore throats
●    Muscle or joint soreness

These are symptoms common to other conditions, such as extreme dieting, iron deficiency and viruses, so it’s always advisable to visit a health professional. But if you have also started exercising harder or more frequently, your training could be a key factor in how you are feeling

When to train and when to rest

How do you feel after a workout? If you feel energised and sleep well that night, you should maintain your training. But if you feel worn out and sore – especially if you find it difficult to sleep – it’s time to take some time off and let your body rest and recuperate.

Q. I’ve been in meetings all day and I’m completely exhausted and stressed out. Should I train?
If you’re mentally shattered, training could help to energise you and work off the stress. Put your trainers on, get started and see how you go. But don’t put pressure on yourself to do an intense training session – simply focus on enjoying it.

Q. I just went to Bodypump for the first time, and 2 days later I can still barely walk! Is this harmful?
Mild aches and stiffness – known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) – are perfectly normal a day or two after exercise that you’re not used to. After a hard exercise session, take it easy for the next couple of days. That doesn’t mean putting your feet up in front of the television, just doing gentle exercise like walking, swimming or yoga in between intense sessions.

Q. I’ve only got a few weeks to train for a 10k run – how quickly can I increase my mileage?
There are no hard and fast rules on how quickly you can increase the intensity of duration of your workouts. With running, it’s generally recommended that you only increase your distance by around 10% a week, but gauge it on how your own body feels, and rest when you feel you need to. If you’ve been feeling run down, it’s probably best to put off your race until you have time to gradually increase your mileage.

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.

Health and nutrition tips by Amanda Hamilton: Breakfast

With the Six Nations upon us and many of us dropping boys and girls off at rugby and judo in North Berwick and Dunbar on a regular basis, strength and protein figure, dare I say it, if you have teenage boys.

With many a pimply teenager clutching their protein drink and muttering “got to get my macros, mum” you may be tempted to ask what are macros? Macros are defined as a class of chemical compounds that humans consume in the largest quantities. I’ll choose the macronutrient most associated with strength to help illustrate the perfect strength supporting workout breakfast, protein.

One of the studies that I remember reading some years ago compared weight loss in dieters who ate either two eggs or a bagel for breakfast. The two breakfast meals were identical in calories and volume, but the egg breakfast was much higher in protein.

I looked it up again and according to the research, overweight women who ate two eggs for breakfast five times a week for eight weeks as part of a reduced-calorie diet, lost 65% more weight than the bagel eaters.  It’s not just about weight of course but in this study they reported higher energy levels too.

As with any research, context is everything. However, there’s no doubt in my mind that a protein based breakfast serves us better than the “simple” carbohydrates in bagels or sugary cereals, especially when our inner resources are being stretched to the limit.

Serious hill walkers, cyclists or runners among you will know that the other Scottish breakfast staple – oats is a stoater (sorry) for energy. It is a slow-release complex carbohydrate, one of the good guys, but this wonder-food also comes with a healthy dose of protein too.

It is a fact that protein does keep you feeling fuller for longer – it’s not just a slogan. A palm-sized amount is about right per meal but remember this can include a huge variation of foods.

So, if eggs are your protein of choice, then do them properly – poached (add some spinach and smoked salmon), scrambled (if you want scrambled egg genius drop in to the legendary Mountain Cafe in Aviemore and try theirs) or boiled (fantastic chopped with grilled mushrooms and a dash of quality oil).

You can get your protein from other delicious sources too. For instance, a typical six-ounce serving of Greek yogurt packs as much protein as three ounces of lean meat. Since the term “Greek” is unregulated, though, check out the ingredient list on yours to make sure it contains only milk and live active cultures.

Let me sign off by sharing one of the breakfast favourites in our house. Packed with healthy amounts of good carbs, protein and nutrients it is the perfect way – along with porridge and eggs – to fuel Scottish success, however that now looks to you.

This recipe makes about two cups and takes five minutes; just pop it all in a blender with some ice and serve.

Amanda’s Breakfast Super Smoothie

Ingredients

3/4 cup low-fat Greek or plain yoghurt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/4 cups fresh berries (or frozen fresh – great for storing). Brambles are still available for those willing to gather!
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon honey or agave
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Amanda Hamilton

North Berwick’s Amanda Hamilton is one of the UK’s most popular nutritionists and health gurus, contributing regularly to TV, press, online and public sector. She also runs her own online healthy diet system and healthy holiday company. She’s a member of Whitekirk Leisure Club and will be contributing a weekly post with tips on health and nutrition.