Needless to say, the weather in the UK over the spring left much to be desired - yo-yoing from winter to summer within 24 hours and opening our bodies to more chills, cold and flu as well as chaotic eating patterns; we’ve really not had a chance to climb into the summer with ease.
Along with many of my clients, the climate continues to be challenging for me, especially with a lot more travelling - arriving back from hotter countries and then being plunging back into cold weather, has kept my duvet coat firmly glued to my back!
Food-wise, this situation has prolonged our intake of wintery comfort food at a time when we should be switching to lighter, spring foods. As I write, the past week has all the marks of the beginning of summer so I think we can safely put the awful past six months behind us and focus on getting back on track.
Whether travelling or at home, I find breakfast still one the most enjoyable meals of the day, particularly after a morning workout or after a light evening meal. It's a real opportunity to eat highly nutritious food without any guilty pangs of indulgence.
Fruit, whole grain cereals (for those who can digest), low fat proteins, nuts, seeds, vegetables and their juices are all great options. I'm really not a big fan of porridge at this time of year and much prefer Bircher muesli, which contains low amounts of oats, with yoghurt, nuts and seeds.
My favourite breakfast treat this season has been a variation on eggs royal - a poached egg with smoked salmon and lightly cooked spinach on rice/oat cakes or gluten-free toast. No hollandaise sauce, but just a little black pepper and a drop of tomato ketchup – washed down with a apple, celery and watercress juice. Talking of watercress, now is the time to eat more of this stunning vegetable - both in the soup version as well as used in a salad are particularly refreshing on a hot day. Its bitter leaves are the perfect foil to sweeter ingredients such as goats cheese, roasted red peppers or caramelised onions. Also, watercress provides a healthy dose of iron, iodine and folic acid in addition vitamins A and C, for those seeking to increase the volume of active plant material in the diet. Oddly, with all the chaotic weather, I’ve been stimulated into eating a greater variety of vegetables and salads - up to around 15 – 20 per day.
Walking and stretching
Both spring and summer speed up our energy and our need to get outdoors more to exercise. Though a seasoned runner, I've really enjoyed going for long walks in the heat - obviously not in England but along the beach or in the parks. Why? Because as well as being great rest day movement, it's so relaxing to be in nature after a winter often spent tied to the home or office. My mind simply expands and, like when I'm running, I tend to find solutions to all sorts of issues to do with work or on a emotional level.
If you want to use walking as part of your exercise programme then I recommend walking for at least a hour. Plan a route that is interesting - this is exercise, so dawdling along is not going produce any health gains at all. Walking can help to control diabetes, high cholesterol, mental health and dementia –try playing a bit of music to help your keep the session up-tempo and focused.
Post session, stretch your legs and whole upper body - this will help to re-balance your muscles and help prevent post-workout soreness.
And finally …
Since last autumn, I've been working on a lifestyle project for a client that has been incredibly rewarding! I have been setting up an art gallery which has involved a lot of travelling round the globe to find art with which to launch the space this September in London Design Week.
Gallery Elena Shchukina has a unique mixture of colourful art, coupled with furniture and objects of art. If you would like to find out more about our artist and Elena's whole vision, take a look at the website www.galleryelenashchukina.com or drop me a line if you wish to attend our launch exhibition which will feature paintings by American fine artist Ibe Onykea.
I look forward to catch up with you next month - enjoy the warmth until then!