Tag: london

Where to buy Health Food on the cheap (in London)

Where to buy Health Food on the cheap (in London)

“Being healthy is just so expensive”

I hear that phrase all the time.

There’s all sorts of advice on blogs, social media and in magazines about how to live healthily on a budget. But a lot of them of them pretty much say the same thing.

Buy in bulk. Meal prep. Have a food planner. Shop at markets half an hour before closing time.

I’m mean that’s all very well – and yes, it all makes sense. But a) you have to be pretty damn organised and in-the-know about your local markets and b) there’s just no denying the fact that sometimes healthy food is expensive, no matter how organised you are.

It’s frustrating, because there are loads of easy, healthy recipes that are absolutely delicious but completely useless if you can’t afford half the ingredients.

Where to buy health foods on the cheap

I’m not going to pretend I’m completely guilt free of this. A lot of the recipes on this blog call for some sort of protein powder, superfood or random spice that aren’t stock cupboard regulars and aren’t exactly cheap as chips.

Equally though, I’m pretty stingy with my money. Especially when I’m trying to save. No shame- I completely admit it.

Luckily, supermarkets have started to jump on the whole health food bandwagon – meaning you don’t have to blow your weekly budget in places like Whole Foods or super pricey independent health food stores.

I like to think that I have become pretty savvy at sourcing healthy ingredients whilst managing not to completely break the bank.

Here’s the lowdown of where I get my health food on the cheap in London.

 

Where to buy health foods on the cheap

TOP SHOP: Lidl

What: Smoked Salmon, Protein Powder, Superfood Seeds, Nuts, Fruit and Veg. Oh, and your odd piece of Fitness Equipment

Lidl really puts me off because of how it’s organised, and because you always seem to wait forever at the checkouts. HOWEVER, it’s pretty unbeatable price wise. The fruit and veg are normally good value (and I’ve heard the same of Aldi too, although there isn’t one close to me). You can get big packets of nuts for less than £2.20 for 200g – compared to other supermarkets where you’d normally spend almost double that amount. You can also get things like Linseeds, milled Chia seeds and healthy breakfast grains and toppings for between £1-£1.50 for 200-250g.

Top tip from one of my clients, apparently, the Smoked Salmon from Lidl is very cheap but of a much better quality than at other supermarkets. Direct quote “it’s not all veiny and gross”.

Oh, and they also do some brilliant fitness equipment too, such as yoga mats and resistance bands. Suspension ropes (TRX) for £11 anyone?

 

Asda

What: Yoghurt, Protein Cookies and Bars.

Before Aldi and Lidl came along, I knew of Asda as the ‘cheaper option’ supermarket. It’s still a pretty good option if you’re being tight with the purse strings, especially for bulk buying things such as whole-wheat pasta, lentils and grains. You can also usually get protein bars or cookies for a decent price (i.e. less than £1.50 per unit). However in particular, I go to Asda for yoghurt. They have a huge range of healthy, high protein yoghurts including my favourite brand, Fage, for £2 per 500g tub. Compared to the £2.95 that my nearest Sainsbury’s offers…well that’s a pretty big difference. They also include Skyr yoghurt (my second fave) in their 2 for £2 deal. Absolute winner.

Where to buy health foods on the cheap

Boots

What: On-the-go lunches, health bars, energy balls, snacks, protein shakes and healthy drinks

Boots is brilliant purely because of its meal deal. A main, a drink and a snack for £3.89 (give or take depending on the branch). The thing is, pretty much everything is included in the meal deal – unlike some other places which limit you to their basic selection. Which means you can get things such as Cold Press Juice, Protein Shakes, Trek Bars, Deliciously Ella Protein Balls, Graze Boxes and loads more as part of a lunch deal that costs less than £4. Given that other places often charge between £2-£4 for the one thing alone (I saw Cloud Press Juice for £3.29 for 250ml elsewhere) this works out as great value.

 

Sainsbury’s

What: Peanut butter & Coconut Oil

Sainsbury’s always seems to have deals on their nut butters – and the bigger stores have a good selection of brands too. I usually buy my favourite Pip & Nut peanut butter for £1.70 for a 225g jar (normally around £2.20). Every now and then they’ll also have an offer on the 1kg tubs. I also discovered Sainbury’s £1 ginger shots a little while ago when I went through a huge ginger phase. These are normally minimum £2 so that was awesome.

Coconut Oil (for cooking) is another extraordinarily expensive habit of the health food community, HOWEVER in my nearest big Sainsbury’s (don’t even bother with the little local ones) I saw 600ml of Pure Cooking Coconut Oil in the foreign foods section for £2.49. I’ve seen half as much coconut oil go for £12 in Planet Organic once…so £2.49 is a steal!

 

Where to buy health food on the cheap

Holland and Barratt

What: Superfood Powders & Alternative Baking Ingredients

Like Boots, Holland and Barratt run some amazing sales, even if the individual products themselves can be pricey. They run their Penny sale regularly, which is where you buy one item and get one of any other item for 1 pence. If you shop wisely, this can really work out in your favour, especially as they include quite a large majority of stock in the sale. You can pretty much get two high price items for the price of one. Last time I got around 500g of acai powder (which is stupidly expensive) for £8. For non-sale days, their alternative baking ingredients (such as high protein or gluten free flour) is usually quite a decent price.

 

Where to buy health food on the cheap

Waitrose

What: Not very much…

I know, I know. You don’t exactly include the word ‘Waitrose’ and the word ‘budget’ in the same sentence. BUT, if you are conveniently close to a decent size store (rather than the smaller, local ones which charge you a small mortgage for a sandwich) they have some hidden gems amongst the £5 pot of apple slices. They always seem to have a good sale on to-go protein shakes, for example. Plus, (being Waitrose) they also have their own brand of things such as Matcha Shots, Ginger Shots and Coconut water, which makes them ever so slightly cheaper than when you buy such things from a café.

That being said, at £2.50 per 500ml, my favourite Fage yoghurt is actually cheaper in Waitrose than in Sainsbury’s. So that’s food for thought.

Where to buy health food on the cheap

Do you have any thrifty tips or tricks when it comes to sourcing your health food on the cheap? Please share in the comments!

Backs, Abs and Breakfast – Time for the FlexFit Dance June Monthly Update!

Backs, Abs and Breakfast – Time for the FlexFit Dance June Monthly Update!

These update posts are really flying by! I was so surprised when I wrote my first one, in March, that I’d already been a full time PT for three months.

Well, now even June has come to an end. It’s the start of July (JULY?) and that time has doubled.

I still love it. No matter how early I get up and however crazy my hours are I’m still thankful at the end of every day that I do what I do. And that I don’t sit at a desk driving myself insane for several hours a day.

Here’s what’s been going on in June:

Work

FlexFit dance June Updates

In all honesty, I have overworked myself slightly in the past couple of weeks… I am a habitual over worker- every now and then I just don’t know when to stop. If someone offers me hours to work then I can’t resist but to say yes if I can squeeze it into my schedule. What with Tom and I desperately saving to go travelling, this has been even more relevant recently.

However, alongside endless admin work, blogging and of course my own training, the stupid amount of client hours I was working over June started to catch up to me! I didn’t really notice when I got ill and run down and completely lost my voice. I didn’t notice when I could barely move for a couple of days because I was so tired. And I certainly didn’t notice when I started getting all grouchy at friends and family (and especially poor Tom!) because I’d spend too long giving all my energy and happiness to my clients!

But then a day last week I actually fell asleep in the middle of the day. I’d had a jam-packed morning and was about to have a very late, busy evening and I’d gone home in between.

As someone who finds it near impossible to nap, this was a major warning signal!

Luckily all it took was a couple of days doing absolutely nothing (and a lovely spa day) and I felt better than ever.

I’m now paying a bit more attention to how much I agree to take on.

Lesson of the month: it’s okay to say no sometimes!

Life

FlexFit dance June Updates
This month I shared with you my favourite quick and healthy breakfasts – if this isn’t enough to tempt you, click through for more inspiration!

This month for me has been all about Scoliosis Awareness Month. You’ll know from some of my older posts that this is a condition I was diagnosed with as a teenager – and had surgery for at the age of 17. It’s a huge motivating factor in my training.

This month, in the lead up to Scoliosis Awareness Day (the last Saturday in June) I filled my Instagram account full of back-day workouts, exercises and tips for safe technique and good posture. It was my way of spreading a little bit of awareness into the world of social media. At the time, it really didn’t seem like much. I worried that I should be doing more – fundraising perhaps. However, I have since received the most extraordinary messages and comments from a few people that made it all worth it. Mostly sufferers or their families. It’s amazing how much power social media has. The fact that I was able to provide even the tiniest amount of comfort to people made me so happy. One of them has now even become a client.

With just a few weeks to go until the wedding, Staci is powering through her Fit Bride Bootcamp workouts! This month was an Abs Special. It’s ideal for bikini season, so go check out the workout (and Staci’s commentary!) over on the ever-beautiful Lattes & Lipsticks.

Training

FlexFit dance June Updates

I’ve been saying it for ages- and finally, this month, I tried out my first ever yoga class! Never one to do things by halves, I experienced my inauguration into Yoga on the 35th floor of Sky Garden (the Walkie Talkie building). It was a brilliant morning, made no less impressive by the 360 degree views of London’s skyline. You can read my full review right here. For now I’ll just say that (once I’ve found a style that really suits me), I think it’ll be a brilliant addition into my weight training. It’ll be nice to devote a set amount of time to stretch out the muscles that I normally place under so much stress! Which nicely brings me onto:

 

From June to July: What’s on & Goals for the Month:

1) Goal number one is to keep up with the yoga. For the time being, I think a realistic target would be to go to at least one class a fortnight. That way, if I have a crazy hectic week then I can make sure that I have a little bit of me time the following week. I’m going to try out a few different styles of classes. I like fast paced flow, but also want to devote a good amount of time to my hip flexors and hamstrings! So I’ll see where that takes me.

2) Goal number two – book a dance lesson for me and Tom. I was so surprised when he actually seemed keen, and I really miss dancing. I want to try some form of Latin…or jive/swing style dance. If you know of any reasonably priced classes in London please please comment and let me know!

3)Goal number three – post two blog posts per week. Consistently. I’m also considering trying out a bit of a revamp/redesign… So if you have any feedback or thoughts, I’d love to hear!

FlexFit dance June Updates

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Stretching in the Sky: My Introduction To Yoga.

Stretching in the Sky: My Introduction To Yoga.

When it comes to appointments, sessions, classes, clients and even social events, I’m a very on time person. In my mind “on time” has a sub-clause which is “with five-ten minutes to spare”. Even being one minute late triggers quite a lot of irrational anxiety that is disproportionate the situation. It just stresses me out.

Bizarrely, however, when it comes to crazes and trends I’m very late off the mark. Constantly. Whether it’s an actual fashion trend, and up-and-coming musician, or a fancy new place to go in town, I always seem to have a little bit of a delay compared to other people.

It took me aaaaages to clamber myself up onto the Instagram bandwagon. And don’t even get me started on high-waisted jeans. I would say that it’s because I “don’t follow the crowds” and because I want to make sure I invest in things that are worth my time…the truth is that I’m just a bit oblivious.

Yoga is a brilliant example.

You may have read in my update post from all the way back in March that one of my goals was to try out a yoga class- for the very first time. People are often really surprised when they find out that (up until last week) I’d never done a Yoga class. I’m a personal trainer, an ex-dancer, I have a reasonably good balance between strength and flexibility. A lot of my sessions with clients focus on loosening tight hips and increasing flexibility. In principle, Yoga is right down my street. Which I have always known on some level. But, in typical Roslyn fashion, I just didn’t really think about it properly.

Not until recently anyway. One of the things I love most about being a PT is learning about and exploring different styles of training. Not to mention that my dancer-flexibility is very slowly being monopolised by my increasing strength!

The thing that’s put me off until this point is some of the “yogi stereotypes”. I’m a very down to earth person, often overly analytical. So some of the things that I believed to be associated with yoga- lots of nature imagery and spirituality- well…weren’t exactly my cup of tea.

But coming into the fitness industry and getting to know a whole load of people who either practise or instruct yoga, I became a bit more educated. I realised how broad the term “Yoga” is and began to look more into the many different and varied branches that it offers. I accepted the fact that there is probably a branch out there that suits me and adopted a “don’t know until you try” mentality.

Quite by chance (or so I thought- I later realised that it was because of International Yoga Day on June 21st) suddenly loads of opportunities presented themselves for me to finally get my ass in gear.

One of which was a 6.30am sunrise yoga class on the 35th floor of Sky Garden- London’s walkie talkie building.

I may always be late to trends. But when I do finally get there I go all out!

Stretching in the Sky: My Introduction to Yoga

Sunrise Yoga at Sky Garden, London

The Location

I didn’t intend to be simultaneously writing a review of Sky garden itself when I’m supposed to be focusing on the whole yoga thing. The thing is that when you’re in such an iconic location in a beautiful building and with panoramic views of London’s cityscape…

Well, how could I not?

It’s a beautiful place with a really calming atmosphere and the views speak for themselves. It’s a gorgeous place to watch the sunrise over London, yoga class or no.

Luckily it really added to the whole ‘yoga-debut’ experience. Before the class even started I felt removed from the hustle and bustle from the city below and far away from my daily tasks and routines.

Stretching in the Sky: My Introduction to Yoga

The Teacher

The class itself was taken by the wonderful Ro (@yoga_ro). She was calm and knowledgeable and took everything in her stride. As a teacher myself I know how difficult it can be to run a busy class when there’s a huge range of abilities. She handled this perfectly – everything was well explained and clear enough even for my own novice self- but I did notice that she gave adaptations wherever necessary and progressions for the more advanced pupils. She also has a great voice. Like an actor. Not even the slightest hiccup broke the flow.

The Practice

The practice itself I also thoroughly enjoyed. It was great to devote a whole hour to my body in a way that wasn’t putting it under a large amount of stress- like my normal training does. I love stretching, and actually having a large chunk of time stretch properly felt like a brilliant privilege.

The more dynamic and flowy bits were my favourite (sorry any yogi readers here for my appalling language…). I found myself best able to focus when one thing would move almost straight into the next and you literally barely had the time to focus on anything but your body and your breath.

In the interest of full disclosure, I felt myself losing concentration when Ro went into detail on the nature imagery (mountains and trees). I get that it can be extraordinarily helpful for other people. Just not me. I weirdly think I’d find it more calming to think about the scientific aspects of breath…the heart and the lungs and the blood circulating oxygen to the muscles, rather than thinking of emptying my vessel of negative energy.

I realise it’s essentially the same thing. It’s just the way I think.

Summary

All in all, yes, I’m going to try out a couple more yoga classes. I think it would be an incredibly beneficial thing to add to my routine to supplement a lot of high intensity strength training. I’m going to experiment with different styles and see if I can find one that’s fast paced enough to stop my hyper-analytical mind from overacting.
Am I a yogi yet? Well, no. But I’m always late to these things so maybe ask again in a few months’ time.

Keen for recommendations – what’s your favourite style of yoga and why?

Stretching in the Sky: My Introduction to Yoga