As I mentioned last week I’m going to be doing a few more fitness-related posts to mix things up a bit on the blog, and as a new Wellness Warehouse Ambassador, I feel it’s simply my duty to advocate an active lifestyle. Plus! It’s summer and we all want to get in tip top shape for the beeeeeeeeeach !! On a more serious note though- Your health is something that should never ever be taken for granted. (Just think about all the people you know who’ve lost loved ones to the injurious effects of illness and disease). It’s frightening actually, really frightening. Yes, diet has a very large part to play, but there’s nothing that rivals being physically fit and active. The benefits are immeasurable. Which is why this week has seen me kick things up a notch or two. After a great run (and chat) on Saturday morning along the promenade with my friend Pippa, we both decided that:
a) We wanted to fit more running into our schedules (She wants to do Two Oceans Ultra next year!)
b) We would train 4 times at our gym this week (usually it’s 3 but we both need to catch up on sessions)
c) We’re going to climb Lion’s Head Tomorrow evening for the Moon Walk
Then I’m hoping to do a long-ish run on Saturday morning (weather depending! Don’t really enjoy running in the rain) and then on Sunday I’m starting at Jai Yoga studio for a month of unlimited Bikram classes. I normally do hatha yoga but found a great deal on groupon:)
Let’s see if I’m still here on Monday!
There’s something a little out of the ordinary about being on the open rooftop of an inner city building in your workout clothes, a pair of boxing gloves at your feet and a big black man with biceps the sizes of wine barrels singing the words to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Yesterday afternoon I joined my friends Vanessa and Ilze for a private boxing lesson-something I’ve been promising to do for ages. Having chatted to Vanessa about it for some time, I sort of knew what to expect…but I don’t think my arms did!
We met on the rooftop that adjoins popular Cape Town bar, Tjing Tjing. It was actually the perfect “outdoor gym”. A slight breeze helped in cooling us down throughout the workout and the open space enabled a large area to move around. And move around we did!
After getting our hands and knuckles bound by our instructor, Jongi Kamko, we donned our gloves and got ready for action. It was at this stage of the session that I felt a small surge of adrenaline rush through my veins.
Jongi took me aside and explained some of the key techniques of boxing. Although a lot of people think that it’s easy to put on a pair of gloves and box, one really needs to be taught the right footing, arm movement and face protection if one wants to do it properly and get the best workout.
Ilze has been boxing for years, so it was no surprise to see her jabbing and moving and pounding away like a pro.
“Have you fought before?” asked Jongi looking at me. Fight? Me? All 5ft2 of me? I laughed.
“No”, I said “look at me, I’m a pathetically small”.
With that, he began to show me how to jab and throw a real punch.
“Power! Show me power!” he shouted.
“Pah…Pah…Pah” he urged me with each loud thwack that hit his blocking pads.
And so it went, moving and jabbing. Left-Right- Left-Right. One- Two- One-Two. Faster and faster. More jabs, this time eight in a row...pah-pah-pah-pah-pah-pah-pah-pah!
It may sound silly to say but once you get into the rhythm, it feels as if some other force has take over your body and strange kind of killer instinct emerges.
Sweat started to drip from my brow and I could feel the thumping in my chest. Boxing is serious cardio and some of the fittest athletes in the world happen to be boxers. Their endurance and strength is something to be revered.
We finished the session with some ab work- crunches and sit-ups, and then a few arm exercises which looked much easier than they were. We had to hold our arms out straight to the sides in line with our shoulders and flick our fingers in and out like ‘twinkling’ stars.
I don’t think I’ll be facing Baby Jake anytime soon -but after yesterday’s experience, boxing has very quickly made its way onto my list of new favourite workouts!
A bit about our instructor: Jongi, a world class boxer in his own right, runs a boxing school in Khayelitsha called Grassroots Boxing Academy where he coaches youngsters and infuses them with his passion for the sport. For lessons you can contact Jongi on 084 849 5147 (He’s really not as scary as he looks!!)
So I went to see the oral hygienist the other day, such a nice lady…except that she made me feel like I never take care of my teeth, which I do! I really do.
‘Do you drink a lot of coffee and red wine?’ she asked. What was I going to do? Lie to her? With her fists still deep inside my mouth I nodded slightly.
‘Hmmm, I can see a bit of staining here and there. Do you also drink tea?’
DO I DRINK TEA??!!! She clearly didn’t know who she was dealing with here. I mean, my second name might as well have been tea.
‘Yes, a lot.’ I answered. And before she could even continue I had already decided in my mind that whatever it was she was going to say to me, would not deter me from my tea (or chocolate).
Luckily she just told me to floss more…which I can live with. Now I can’t imagine that this tea would give your teeth stains but who cares, it’s so delicious! It’s called Buchu tea and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to try because I’m already fairly familiar with Buchulife sparkling water.
Made by Cape Moondance, a local company based in Stellenbosch, the tea is produced from the buchu plant, which is a traditional healing herb. The plant is protected and can be found growing naturally in the Western and Southern Cape of South Africa.
It is believed that the Koisan first used buchu to cure illnesses but also drank it during dances and rituals when the moon was full. So this product really is deeply rooted in South African soil. The health benefits (of which there are many) can be found on the Cape Moondance website, but just to mention a few:
-Good antiseptic and natural anti-inflammatory
-Detox agent, helping to rid the body of any excess water
-Helps in the prevention of cystitis as well as prostate and kidney problems
-Good for weight management
-Used as general health tonic and to promote overall well-being
The tea itself is not bland and ghastly-tasting as one might imagine. The flavour is quite minty with a eucalyptus character. I find this refreshing and at the same time, soothing (My olfactory system is quite sensitive so it reminds me very much of the Issey Miyake fragrance, A Scent. Strange, I know!). The mouth feel is silky smooth with an aftertaste that leaves a feeling of cleanliness.
The tea is also free of any caffeine and is 100% natural. All the leaves are hand-picked and the tea is BRC certified (global standard for food safety). Now…are there any other reasons you need before you try this?! A box of Buchu tea leaves retails for around R26. It also comes in teabag form for your convenience.
First of all, Happy Birthday Madiba! I actually cannot believe that he is 93 years old today. It felt like last year when he was celebrating his 80th! Time sure does fly…
Onto somewhat less important stuff- Like energy snack bars:)
I don’t know about you but I love to snack throughout the day to keep my energy levels up and my blood sugar regulated. Some people see snacking as a terrible thing, but if you choose the right foods, your metabolism will benefit and you’ll prevent any sugar-crash-related grumpiness.
Now, before I go any further- you should probably know that I love chocolate! But the funny thing is that I will never go into a store and buy a bar of chocolate and spend the next five minutes chomping it. I keep a slab or two of good quality dark chocolate in my fridge and when the craving hits, I will snap off a piece and in no time the craving for sugar will have vanished. Sometimes though, during a busy week, or when I’m feeling pap and just need some comfort, I might have, well, let’s just say…a bigger portion of the slab.
For those of you who have never heard of carob- it comes from a Mediterranean evergreen tree called, surprise surprise, the carob tree! The tree produces pods and it is from these pods that the actual carob powder is made. The important thing to note-if you’re curious, is that carob is naturally sweeter than chocolate and although it contains more carbohydrates, it has less fat and protein. The fact that chocolate is naturally bitter, means that we add loads of sugar to sweeten the taste and this is where the teeth-rotting evil lies.
So! having explained all that, let’s get in the kitchen.
These snack bars are so easy to make and you can wrap them up individually, keep them in the fridge and grab one or two before you head out the door. Convenience. What’s not to like? Oh and my favourite part? They contain Peanut Butter!!
Carob peanut butter oat bars
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup carob powder
3/4 cup natural peanut butter, creamy and salted
1/4 cup honey ½ cup soy milk (or cows milk)
Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Grease a 7×11 baking pan. Mix the oats ground almonds in a medium bowl and set aside. In a pot, whisk together the honey, soy milk and carob powder over med-low heat. Whisk constantly until steamy. Add the peanut butter and whisk until peanut butter is warmed and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the oats. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Loosen the sides with a spatula and cut into bars soon after removing from oven.
I. Am. Beat!
This week has taken it out of me and today has just escalated to a point where I just need to stop…Take a breath. And collapse onto my couch (and stay there!)
Following a week full of exams (Mon-Fri), my brain feels like mush, but it doesn’t end there, because my body is also writhing in pain after recovering from an extremely demanding 6am session at Transfit.
If this man isn’t a true inspiration, then I don’t know what is!
Happy Friday !
So, I have a tiny secret..
I’ve been sneakily sipping this for the past few days
What it is, you ask?
Well, let’s just say it was given to me by an old wrinkled woman who said that if I drank it every morning for 7 days I would meet a prince with an impressively large bank balance, who would look into my eyes, sweep me off my feet, and whisk me off into the sunset with him…
I actually just bought the water myself. Are you happy now?!
I spotted it yesterday and let me be honest- whoever does the marketing had me hook, line and sinker!!
Firstly, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t taste like the water that comes out my kitchen tap, but how gorgeous is the bottle?!! you can read all about the initiative on Terri’s blog (she was involved with the project).
I’m totally going to use the empty bottle as a vase! So cute.
They come in three different..umm.. flavours??
You should really try it, and even if no princes magically appear- don’t you think it’d be cool to check out people’s reactions when they see you walking around drinking “love water” ?!
There’s a new girl in the fruit Dept, and she’s HOT!
Having missed winter in South Africa last year, I was almost (dare I say it?) excited, for the wonderful seasonal fruits that we get here at this time of the year.
Think oranges, avocado’s (yes, they’re a fruit), quinces and gooseberries. I always feel that especially during winter it’s important to eat a few pieces of fresh fruit each day, just to pump up the intake of essential vitamins and antioxidants. And really it’s much more pleasing than gulping down a big old pill.
The only downside, if I must be honest, is that sometimes when I’m in rush I find it a real pain and inconvenience to have to peel an orange or take the seeds out of a pawpaw, so it was to my utter delight a month or two ago, that I came across Sharon fruit.
Don’t you just love the name? Definitely more catchy than “Guava” or “Pear”.
Not only is Sharon fruit dreadfully easy to prepare (in fact- you don’t even need to do anything except bite into its juicy, star-imprinted flesh!) it also comes with an extensive list of health benefits to boot!
Originating in China, the fruit is a seedless variety of the persimmon group and it’s only grown in Spain, Israel and South Africa, so we are the only ones that produce it in the southern hemisphere!
The fruit is grown in the beautiful region of Swellendam in the Western Cape and you can find it at most supermarkets as well as fresh produce stands at outdoor foodie markets.
We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, well it must be noted that Sharon fruit has twice the amount of fibre than that of an apple. It also contains high levels of anti-oxidants known for fighting heart disease and cancer as well as possessing a good deal of calcium, magnesium and potassium. I’ve also been told it is a great recovery food after a night of heavy drinking.
Having enjoyed Sharon fruit in a number of different ways, I must say the best is simply reaching for it out of the fridge, cutting it into thick wedges and munching on it as a snack when my energy levels start to drop. This, together with a handful of home-made granola, beats a sugar-laden chocolate bar any day!!
Just to show you how versatile this Super-food really is, I have included a recipe for a sweet roulade that I made this week, which I’m sure would go down well at any office tea party or the end of a long leisurely brunch when you feel the need to nibble on something sweet while paging through the weekend papers.
See, now you CAN have your cake and eat it!
Sharon Fruit Roulade with Poppy seed Cream cheese filling
3 eggs at room temperature, separated
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup *Sharon Fruit puree
¾ cup cake flour
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tub smooth cream cheese
4 Tbps butter
1 cup icing sugar
2 Tbps Poppy seeds
*For the puree, simply peel 4 Sharon fruit and liquidise in a blender.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together for about ten minutes. When done, the mixture will be very thick and very, very pale. Add the lemon juice, vanilla and Sharon fruit puree and stir gently.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and mix just until combined.
Beat the egg whites to soft peak and gentle fold into the batter.
Pour the batter onto a baking sheet that has been greased and lined with wax paper. Spread out the batter evenly and bake for fifteen minutes, or until golden.
Let cool on the pan for about ten minutes and start your filling.
Whip the cream cheese and butter together for three minutes or until creamy. Add the icing sugar, vanilla and poppy seeds. Whip on high for another six minutes. Set aside.
After you have cooled the cake for a few minutes, turn over the baking sheet and gently peel off the wax paper. Spoon the filling on top of the cake and spread out. Starting at the far edge, roll up the cake. Wrap in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for about an hour before serving.
For more information about Sharon Fruit, visit www.sharonfruit.com or follow @sharontmfruit on twitter for updates.