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5 Ways To Make Those Resolutions Last

Resolutions pad

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?

Here we are in 2018! And we all know what that means, don’t we? That’s right, it’s New Year’s Resolutions time…again.

For many of us New Year’s Resolutions signify a fresh start and time to embark on changes and challenges for a new, improved self. Sadly, despite the best of intentions, this often fizzles out within a matter of weeks (or days) and we return to our old habits. How can we give ourselves the best chance at sticking to these aspirations and make them part of our lives moving forward? Here are 5 tips to keep you on track and make those resolutions stick!

1. Don’t Set Yourself Up For Failure.

Make small, achievable changes that won’t become insurmountable and easy to give up at the first obstacle/challenge. Once those small changes have become part of your routine, implement other ones. If you try to change too much at once, it can become all too hard and very easy to break your resolutions and give up everything.

If this year’s goal is to get fit and you’re coming from a place where you considered walking to the fridge to get a beer as exercise, there’s no point making your resolution to go to the gym 6 days a week. This is unrealistic and there’s not much chance you’ll stick with it long term. Start by walking to work or getting off the bus 2 stops early and walking from there as a start. Building up from there to 30 mins of walking and possibly some bodyweight exercises at home. Once you get used to increased physical activity, then join the gym so it’s not such a huge shock to the system. Besides, gyms in January are rammed full of New Year’s Resolution-ers just like you. Wait until February when some of the heat has died down.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to give up smoking this year, don’t be ashamed of getting a little help. Using nicotine patches and/or gum to help get through the cravings isn’t cheating; the main thing is that you quit. For good.

 Join our online personal training and nutrition programme 👉 Read more

2. Find Support.

This can come from family, friends, colleagues or even online. If you can make the change a group/team thing, you’ll be more likely to succeed and help each other through inevitable challenges. While ultimately YOU are in control of the choices you make, more people on your team can help make those choices easier.

3. Minimise Temptation.

For the first couple of weeks this is going to be especially important. Breaking habits is hard; there’s no doubt about that. So removing yourself from situations where you’re likely to be tempted will give you a better chance to succeed. E.g., if you’re giving up smoking, don’t have cigarettes in the house, don’t go for “fresh air” breaks with smoking colleagues where there’ll be smoke all around you and temptation staring you in the face. If you’re trying to eat better, remove the biscuits and chocolate from your cupboards. It’s easier to resist temptation if their not within easy reach! When we went vegan for Veganuary last year, we knew we had to make sure our cupboards and fridge was free of animal products and full of healthy options to make it easier to stick to the plan. This leads us onto number 4…

4. Be Prepared For Obstacles And Challenges.

Resolutions planner

Be prepared!

This goes hand-in-hand with number 3. Life isn’t just smooth sailing, lollipops and rainbows; there are going to be things that pop up that will challenge your resolve and tempt you back to the habits of before. Sometimes they’ll come out of left field and try to knock you off course, while others you can predict and prepare for. One example is the eventuality of a friend’s birthday celebration. You can almost guarantee there’ll be alcohol, someone who smokes, and plenty of unhealthy foods and desserts to tempt you! When you know these hurdles are approaching, be sure to have a contingency plan.

Here are some examples:
Attend the event with one of your support network in tow to help you avoid making bad choices. If food is the challenge, check out the menu online before the event and have your choice prepared. If it’s smoking or alcohol that’s the test, be the designated driver for the night, so you’re not tempted to drink, lower your inhibitions and give in to temptation.

5. Nobody’s Perfect.

If you slip up, don’t give up! Giving something up cold turkey is never going to be easy. Likewise, making a new change in your life takes time and it’s easy to go back to your old ways, especially if you’ve been doing something for years and years. So if you fall off the wagon, don’t beat yourself up and call it quits. Dust yourself off and get back on. Keep at it and continue to make that change you really wanted. In time it should get easier as the change becomes part of your new life and new you.

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Gnocchetti, Chard & Lemon Soup

Gnocchetti, Chard & Lemon Soup

This gnocchetti, chard & lemon soup is a keeper. If you’re a pasta eater but want to add that healthy touch to it, this soup is perfect. With plenty of nutritious veg, it’s so much better than a big plate of pasta! Versatile and great as a winter warmer as well as for other seasons, we absolutely love it. The addition of lemon adds a freshness which gives it a distinctive taste. As winter approaches this soup is a great option to have in your repertoire to stay warm and keep your food options varied.

Sourced from our favourite people in London Abel & Cole, this soup is straight out of their recipe list. As always we use their seasonal produce to make this tasty and easy soup. It really only takes 25 minutes to make this soup so you can use it as your go-to when in need of something hot, filling and nourishing this winter!

Here is the easy recipe for the gnocchetti, chard & lemon soup

Gnocchetti, Chard & Lemon Soup

Gnocchetti, Chard & Lemon Soup

Credit: Recipe and produce thanks to Abel & Cole

Gnocchetti, Chard & Lemon soup

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Your go to recipe to fill your tummy, stay warm and add that zest!

What you'll need from your Abel & Cole box:

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A handful of rosemary leaves
  • 1 lemon
  • 75g gnocchetti
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • What you’ll need from home:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 750ml boiling water
  • A large pan

What to do:

  1. Peel the red onion and finely chop it. Peel and crush or finely chop the garlic cloves. Pick the rosemary leaves off their stalks and finely chop the leaves. Strip the chard leaves away from the stalks. Finely slice the stalks, and roughly shred the leaves. Half your lemon and press the juice into a glass for later on.
  2. Into a large pan, pour 1 tbsp olive oil and bring to a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, rosemary and chard stalks. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt & pepper and fry for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until soft.
  3. After 10 mins, pour in 750ml boiling water and crumble in the stock cube. Scatter in the gnocchetti and stir well to mix it all together. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 mins.
  4. After 5 mins, add the shredded chard leaves to the pan and stir well. Simmer for a further 5 mins, or until the pasta is cooked.
  5. Grate in the lemon zest in and stir in along with half of the lemon juice.
  6. Have a taste and accordingly add extra lemon juice, salt or pepper.
  7. Serve into deep bowls straight away

Enjoy and let us know how you got on below. You may even have a tip to share!

Nutritionist Tip: Chard is incredibly nutrient-dense and is a great source of vitamins A, C, K & E, as well as minerals, like magnesium, copper, potassium and iron. Each serving of this delicious soup contains 10g of protein and provides you with 1 ½ of your 5 a day. So this dish is great as a starter or side.

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Probiotics & Superfoods On The Rise in The UK

Team V+A with the team from Turmericandhoney.com

Team V+A with the team from Turmericandhoney.com

When it comes to the nutrition and wellbeing industry, probiotics and superfoods are most certainly on everyone’s lips!  Read more

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Time To Eat Fermented: Today’s 8 Healthiest Fermented Foods

Depending on where you usually hang out, you may or may not have heard a lot of buzz around fermented foods lately. Fermented foods and their influence on your microbiome/beneficial bacteria has been getting a lot of traction around the health and food industries of late, and for a good reason. We’re learning more every day about the billions and billions of bacteria that live on and inside us. Currently we only know a teeny tiny amount about how all the different types and strains of bacteria work together to help our bodies function correctly but we do know that what we eat impacts on them significantly.

Our gut is like a second brain; You may not realise but when you have bloating, tummy pain, infections, or any other digestive issues, it can really impact on your wellness and mood in general. Think about it! There are over 100 million neurons (the same type of cells our brains are made of) in our gut and the bacteria that makes up our microbiome has a big influence on our “second brain” and how it functions. So, what can you do to give your microbiome the best chance? Eat a variety of whole, unprocessed foods. Try new and different things too, as the bacteria love variety. Fermented foods in particular are great for those friendly types.  Minimise refined, processed, high sugar foods whenever possible, as these are what the not-so-friendly bacteria and yeasts thrive on.

V+A Top 8 Fermented Foods

Here’s our list of 8 great fermented foods and drinks for you to try. They may sound funny at first but they’re definitely worth giving a go, even just for your microbiome’s sake! Who knows, you might even find a new favourite food!


Fermented Foods Clearspring Organic Miso PaceThis is a unpastirised paste made from fermented soy beans. Commonly made into a soup. You may have seen miso soup on the menu in your favourite Japanese restaurant.
We use this great Clearspring organic brown rice Miso pace which you can order directly from their website or planetorganic.com or at your local Waitrose.


Also made from fermented soy beans but this time formed into a block. It has a firm texture and earthy, sweet taste. You can get yours from Planet Organic or Ocado.


Fermented Foods Biona Organic Sauerkraut

A traditional German food made from fermenting cabbage. With a salty, rich flavour it’s great as a little something extra on top of your burger (veggie or otherwise), salads, and anything you like really!
Also, it’s easy to make it at home or find some like our favourite brand for sauerkraut, Biona Organic, available in most of your local health stores in the UK like As Nature Intended.


This Korean side dish is similar to sauerkraut, made up of fermented vegetables, most commonly cabbage. Kimchi packs a bit of a punch as it is normally seasoned with chilli, ginger and garlic. Yummers!


Another in the list made of soy beans, this time fermented with a particular type of bacteria. Natto is a traditional Japanese food with a strong flavour and slimy texture. An acquired taste? Almost certainly. You can purchase Natto from most of your Asian supermarkets.


You may also like to read about Probiotics and Superfoods



This drink is made from fermenting milk using “kefir grains”, with its origins in the Caucasus mountains. Kefir grains are made up of certain types of bacteria and yeasts. With a sour taste, kefir may take a little bit of getting used to but is a great way to diversify the drinks you consume. Kefir can also be made using coconut water, great for vegans! Nowadays, you can probably find some fresh organic kefir at your local weekend farmers market or in most Sainsbury’s. Turmeric & Honey have even pushed it further with their brand new supplement Kefir Plus made in a soluble powder.


Fermented Foods Jarr Raw KombuchaA refreshing, lightly fizzy drink made from fermenting black or green tea using a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast). You can find kombucha in numerous flavours from ginger to blueberry to natural.
Make sure when you buy a bottle, there are still “floaty” bits in the bottom! This is known as the “Mother” and is where all the enzymes and good stuff is so drink up!


Probably the most commonly consumed fermented food, probiotic yoghurt is available virtually anywhere. Traditionally, yoghurt is made from cow, sheep or goat milk. Choosing a natural yoghurt, preferably one that is “pot set”, i.e. fermented in the pot you buy, is key. Go for the ones without the unnecessary added sugar. This means less meddling with from the manufacturer and  potential for added ingredients you don’t need. And always choose full fat! The fat content provides some protection for the good bacteria to make it through the harsh acidic climate of your stomach. For those folks who are avoiding or don’t tolerate dairy, there are still options for you too. Alpro make a range of soy-based probiotic yoghurts. Other options include coconut-based probiotic yoghurts from Koko Dairy-Free, The Coconut Collaborative and Coyo. Nush has a range of almond and cashew milk probiotic yoghurts as well.


As always we love to hear what you think

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5 Must Do’s When Joining The Gym To Keep Motivated

Nowadays there is a wide variety of options for you to stay active and exercise. Are you left wondering whether joining a gym is cost effective and worth the money? Well, I can easily say yes! The gym remains an easy option for you to exercise and become part of a community. I decided to join again because the UK winter was too cold to run and workout outdoors. Most equipments and facilities also only tend to be available in a gym. Furthermore, exercising is no longer optional for me, now that I’m close to my mid thirties. 😌

The first gym I registered at in my early twenties was a Virgin Active in Edinburgh. Amazing facilities with a huge gym floor, latest equipment, great pool and plenty more. It was all so good that I felt overwhelmed and quit a month later. I did keep paying my membership for a year though, hoping I would go back by some sort of miracle.
I then moved to London and joined a local gym in Fulham. At that time I had a programme written by one of the personal trainers there and I stuck to it for a few months.

Things got serious when I ended up moving to Sydney in Australia. Everyone was twice my size and I felt I needed to get back into shape. I started training with a gym buddy for a few months and then took a personal trainer. Both were great motivators and helped me get into shape.
Looking back to the beginning of this journey almost 15 years later, I can see why I felt demotivated so many times and how I finally found my own pace to keep active.

My 5 Must Do’s When Joining The Gym To Keep Motivated

These five tips would have helped me keep motivated every time I joined a gym:

Location, location, location

When you’re new and you want exercising to be an essential part of your wellbeing, make it as easy and practical as possible. The location is very important as you want it to be easily accessible, and not become an excuse not to go or keep motivated. Make sure that the opening hours match your lifestyle. Are you really going to go if it’s out of your way and doesn’t suit your availability? If you’re a frequent traveller, look for a gym that you can access in several cities or countries.

Don’t skip the gym induction and your free workout programme

I find this stage crucial in joining a gym. Make time for the in-house gym induction, you may meet a good PT or find a workout buddy. Highly motivating, you’ll gain the knowledge you need about the equipment and  will understand what’s available to you. Everytime I joined a gym in the past I focused on the machines and weights, yet there is so much more than that. From your stretching zone to the classes available to you, make time to find out what else is on offer. Having a PT write you a programme may also be your best chance to ask questions and find out what’s best for you.

Join a gym that shares the same goal(s) as you

The gym I currently go to in London is by far the best option for me. Nuffield Health is a bit more than just a gym. Like most gyms they provide you with a Personal Training session/taster and a written program for free. As part of your membership with Nuffield you also get a Health assessment which you can repeat every 3 months. This gives you a great idea of where you’re at, health and fitness-wise. It also includes your BMI and blood pressure, your aerobic fitness level, all the way through to fasting blood glucose and total cholesterol! It’s pretty extensive and costs nothing extra, except an hour of your time.
If you have a clear goal for exercising, it’s paramount to equip yourself with the right tools to do so.

Have a go-to activity at the gym that works for you when unmotivated

Gym: Swimming as part of staying active

My go-to at the gym has always been swimming. You can go swim with a friend or you can go by yourself and it’s a great way to clear your head and feel relaxed. Swimming is also a remarkable way to give your full body a workout. On my Facebook feed recently, a post from Vogue Hommes came up about Fabio Mancini and how swimming and running was all he needed to keep in shape. Not that I compare myself to Fabio, but it’s reassuring to think that 2 of the exercises I tend to enjoy the most can keep other people in shape too. For you it may be the cardio machines, or bikes, or lifting heavy stuff!

Find a gym buddy or work with a Personal Trainer

I can remember a couple of instances where training with someone has helped me a great deal. I used to feel very awkward at the gym and having a gym buddy helped me get comfortable. It also made me confident using the equipment on my own and attend classes and so forth. The last PT I had in Sydney would always push me, mention improvements and my strength among other things. In life it’s the little things that make a difference and those encouragements really helped me work harder. A personal trainer is a good option to get familiar in a gym and then start training on your own. The money I spent on a PT was worth every penny.

Nowadays I can’t complain as Daen helps me keep in shape with spin classes, running and HIIT.

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