Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Recipe - Pasta with Bacon and Cabbage

A Quick & light Pasta Dish for January with Bacon and

January is a difficult month, after the excesses of
Christmas and New Year everyone wants to start
healthily and lose any extra weight that may have been
found over the festive period.

So I want to show a simple pasta dish which takes as
long as the pasta takes to cook, yet is extremely
tasty and won’t leave you feeling guilty.

Serves 2 People

100g Wholemeal Penne Pasta per person
2 tbsp Fresh Parmesan
4 Rashers Smoked Bacon
1tbsp Olive Oil
1 Egg Yolk
¼ Savoy Cabbage – Thinly Shredded
Salt & Pepper

Place your dried pasta in a pan of boiling water and
cook as directed on the packet until al dente. While
the pasta is cooking chop the bacon into thin strips
and cook on a high heat with the oil and get some nice
colour on the bacon. Add the cabbage and 2 tbsp water
and stir for 5 minutes until the cabbage is mostly

Drain the pasta and add to the cabbage and bacon, add
the parmesan and mix well, add salt and pepper and
then add the egg yolk and mix vigorously; the yolk
will add a shine and coat the pasta adding a richness
and smooth texture. The yolk will cook enough with the
heat of the pasta.

This is really tasty and I have had it about four
times since new year, it is quick, simple and uses
ingredients which many of us have around.

Please enjoy and you will hear from me soon.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sticking to your goals...

Each year thousands of people resolve to get in shape, or lose weight, only to end up giving up after a few months. To help you stick to this year’s resolution, try following my simple tips below.

Set Goals – Figure out what it is you want to achieve then write it down and keep it visible at home and at work. Make sure that the goals you set are specific and realistic as too many people aim too high or too wide and then lose motivation when they miss the target. Remember, you can always set new goals once you have achieved something.

Start slowly – If you haven’t been exercising for the past year (or even longer) then you need to get back into it gradually. Going to the gym every single day of the week and working out for two hours may be well intended but it is going to be virtually impossible to sustain and worse still, it’s likely to cause you injury and exhaustion. Progress your exercise as you go, and build up gradually to give the body time to adjust to new things.

Make a plan – You have probably heard that failing to plan is planning to fail? This is certainly true when it comes to exercise. But it doesn’t have to be rocket science. Simply planning when you are going to do your exercise during the oncoming week can avoid it from being left out of your busy life. Also, make a plan for what you are going to do, whether it is at the gym, outside, or just at home, write down what the plan for the workout is and stick to it. This way you’ll be able to keep a record of what you do and progress it as you go.

Find something you enjoy – You are far more likely to keep things up if they are fun to do. So, if you really don’t enjoy running on a treadmill at the gym, then run outside, or don’t run at all. Exercising should not be a chore, it should be rewarding and fulfilling. So to keep it going, find an activity that appeals to you or that is a new experience and go for it.

Reward yourself – We all need something to aim for when we are training. If you achieve what you set out to do then recognise that by rewarding yourself. For example, if you are still going to the gym after three months, then how about treating yourself to a spa day or a new outfit?

Get some help – You are not alone, plenty of people are starting to exercise every day and there are many different ways you can get support. Whether it means hiring a personal trainer, or just going swimming with a friend, it is a lot easier with someone else to keep you going.

Remember, whatever you do to stay healthy, have fun and good luck for 2007.

New Years false truths...

It is amazing how in the new year, so called "fitness guru's" are advertised by the newspapers as being London's top experts in the field. Yet, so many of these people are pedalling myths and false truths in an effort to promote their 'system' and guess who/what it is usually at the expense of - yes, weight training.
Today's Daily Mail had a body scuplting "expert guru" who tells us that her method does the following....

"Unlike gym-based exercise, it lengthens, as opposed to contracting muscles, making them lean not bulky. Pilates-devotees looking for a new challenge will love it"

Yup, how many times have we seen that one?

O.k, so just for a bit of fun, let's expose this ridiculous saying for the COMPLETE RUBBISH that it is!!

ANY muscle action involves contracting muscles, in fact we can't move without a muscle contracting....even stretching a muscle involves contracting another. These relationships are how are joints manage to stay in one place..if every muscle was long and loose then we'd end up with slack muscles everywhere and we wouldn't be able to move at all!
This long-touted belief that weight training leads to bulky, unattractive, inflexible muscles is one still held by many teachers of systems that have actually (in the case of Pilates) been born from strength training. It also shows a total ignorance of the wide range of exercises and outcomes that a well-designed weight training programme can address, choosing instead to focus on an outdated stereotypical idea of the overdeveloped and inflexible individual that is far from the reality.
While Pilates and it's associates do have many excellent benefits, it is essentially a system of training like any other. It is a shame that people have decided to take credible work and try to gain a commercial edge by using nothing short of "quackery" to sell their services.
It also betrays an inherent lack of understanding of exercise and muscle physiology. The fact is that ANY exercise done poorly can be detrimental to health. Perhaps the main problem with weight training is poorly performed exercises through incomplete ranges of movement leading to a loss of flexibility probably via muscle memory (thrixotropy). To avoid this simply ensure you work through a complete range of motion on each exercise.

A well-designed weight training programme can also do the following, many to far greater effect than other systems of exercise...

"sculpt" muscle
improve flexibility - YES I said IMPROVE flexibility
Strengthen bones, joints, and connective tissue as well as muscle
CORRECT imbalances
IMPROVE posture
Improve body composition
Develop fitness
Reverse disease
Maintain strength, power, range of movement, and muscle mass
Prevent many age-related declines in fitness...

and much, much, more....

Some food for thought....