Do you want to lose weight?

Have you been told you need to lose weight?

About two and half years ago I weighed myself and found I was nearly three stone over weight, I was shocked, I thought I was a healthy weight, my scales were wrong (I bought new ones).

Here is how I lost my weight, I didn’t go on a crash diet, or follow one of these silly fad diets. I looked at what I was eating, how much I was eating (far too much). I stopped my snacking, I thought I was snacking healthily eating fruit etc, I didn’t realize eating when not hungry was not healthy for me, then going home and having an evening meal. I disciplined myself, I only had/have something healthy for breakfast, either grapefruit with a light drizzle of honey, why honey? you ask, it breaks down better in the stomach/body than sugar, muesli, or as I often do dark chocolate cover rice cake bars, I drank/drink more water. The thing that makes the most difference is slowly cutting down on the amount of food you eat, do not suddenly cut your food/meals down dramatically you’ll feel hungry too fast through the day and evening. Chew your food slowly, enjoy what you are eating, by doing this your mind will tell you that your stomach is full before you’ve finished your meal, do like to have a desert, then place a smaller amount of food on your plate and you’ll have space for your desert. Stop eating take out meals, make your own from scratch, it is trial and error to start with as you find out how you like your meals; whether they will be spicy, etc. Do you know how much salt, sugar etc is in ready meals and take out meals. Yes we do get pizzas once or twice a year, if we do eat out it is at a restaurant that cooks from fresh or has an excellent write up.

Not only do you need to eat healthily, you have to start exercising, going for a brisk walk, you’ll probably find to start with you can’t walk too fast, but after a week or do you’ll find you will be walking faster. When you feel confident why not try the Couch to 5k running/jogging app, I did last year, at first I thought I would never be able to run non stop for 25 minutes, but guess what; by the ninth week I was, and I felt chuffed with myself, I am doing it again this year, as well as going to the gym, but keep myself motivated I pay a monthly fee so I cannot give in. do you take your children to school by car like I used to do, because we live to and half miles away with no footpath, I would always park my car five or ten minutes from the school and walk them in.

But don’t think I don’t treat myself, every other weekend my family and myself have a movie and munchies night, this is after our homemade Chinese meal, we have chocolate buttons, crisps and popcorn, I and my husband only eat a small amount of our Chinese meal and leave room for munchies, and stop when we are full.

I do bake cakes and biscuits, but its often the children that eat more than me.

As my late mother-in-law would tell us,

Everything in moderation, but a little of what you fancy does you good!”

Healthy Flapjack

Here is a lovely recipe for healthy flapjack, no syrup, no sugar, I don’t weigh my ingredients I add them after I’ve mashed the bananas to the consistency I like.

4-5 ripe bananas.

Oats,  I use gluten free,(I don’t weigh them).

3 tsp cinnamon (depending on if you like the taste of it).

Raisins.

Sultanas.

Almond flakes.

dark chocolate drops/chips.

2 tbs Maple syrup.

 

Method.

  1. Oven at 180, gas mark 4.
  2. Mash the bananas until there are no lumps.
  3. Add the oats, cinnamon, raisins, sultanas, chocolate chips and syrup and stir in.
  4.  Place on a lined baking tin and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  5.  Leave to cool, then cut into rectangles and enjoy.

 

I can hear some of you saying, “how can it be healthy with chocolate chips?” Dark chocolate is healthy,  the higher the coca content the less sugars.

Humus.

1-2 450 g Cans of Chick Peas.

1-2 Red Peppers (optional).

1-2 Tbsp of lemon juice (optional)

1 Tsp salt.

1-2 Tbsp Sesame oil.

1-4 tsp sweet chilli sauce (optional).

2 Cloves Garlic.

1 -2 Tsp Fresh Ginger peeled and grated on 2nd smallest side.

1-3 Tbsp Olive oil, little for drizzling over red peppers (if using peppers).

 

  1. Oven temperature at 180c, 360f, gas mark 3.
  2.  Empty the chick peas and their water into a pan, place onto hob on full heat and bring to the boil.
  3. Turn the heat down to simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Whilst the chick peas are simmering, de-seed the pepper and slice it, place it onto a baking sheet, sprinkle over with a little of the oil, place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.
  5.  Peel and chop garlic into slices.
  6. Add the ginger and garlic to the chick peas for 2 minutes.
  7. Strain the chick peas, saving the ginger and garlic a long with the chick peas.
  8. Place the chick peas into a jug or large bowl or blender/food processor, add the olive oil, sesame oil, salt, sweet chilli sauce or the lemon juice, or red peppers.
  9. Blend all of the ingredients together until the mixture becomes fairly smooth, keep taste testing to flavor as you would like it.
  10. Place the mixture into an air tight container placing a piece of folded baking parchment over the top, then cover with the lid and place in the fridge.

 

12963540_10206354527517376_4060303288752730661_n

Enjoy your humus with chopped cucumber, celery, carrots.

 

Vegetable crisps.

1 sweet potato, peeled.

1-2 carrots peeled.

1-2 parsnips peeled.

1-2 fresh beetroots peeled.

2 tbsp olive oil.

1/4 tsp chilli powder (use less if you do not want it too spicy), (optional).

1/4 tsp cumin powder.

1/4 tsp garlic powder.

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp mixed herbs.

  1. Slice all of your vegetables thinly.
  2. Place the oil, dried herbs, chilli powder, cumin powder, salt into a bowl.
  3. Add the sliced vegetables and stir to coat all of the vegetables.

946746_10206146892366627_677143254075557912_n

 

4.Place them separate onto a baking tray.

 

 

5.Place in the oven, at 160c, gas mark 3

6.Cook for 30-40 minutes turning the vegetables half way through to ensure even baking.

10563069_10206147421819863_83594404967877259_n

7.Take out of the oven and allow to cool.

Enjoy.

Uses for the humble lemon 7.

Natural Remedies.

 

Sore puffy eyes.

Using neat lemon juice on your eyes is not advisable, but adding a drop or two of juice to a cup of warm water will do you no harm, simply use the solution as you would a normal eye wash to sooth your eyes.

If your eyes a a bit puffy maybe from hay fever or late nights, try squeezing the juice of a lemon into a small bowl, add two slices of cucumber to the juice and let the slices sit in it for a minute or two, place the slices over your eyes and relax, this will not only get rid of puffy eyes, but will also help to reduce dark circles underneath the eyes.

Chapped Lips.

Chapped lips can sting and make you feel very miserable in the winter months. Place a small amount of Vaseline or glycerine onto a saucer and mix the juice of half a lemon, apply to your lips to heal & sooth.

Cold Sores.

Hands up who suffers from cold sores, (me too). Lemons have been used to deal with cold sores, simply cut a slice of lemon and place it directly onto the affected spot, it will sting but try to keep it there for as long as you can bear it, change the slice and reapply it. To help avoid cold sores from developing try to squeezing 4 lemons into a glass of water for a daily drink, this will give your body an extra boost that will prevent and treat cold sores.

Caution, only apply the lemon slice treatment at the beginning of a cold sore outbreak, do not use on open sores or broken skin.

Head Lice.

No one likes to find head lice in their children’s hair, here’s a way to deter them. Add two drops of lemon oil to your shampoo & two drops to the conditioner. The presence of the acidic lemon will help to deter the outbreak of a head lice infestation, or make life uncomfortable for them if they have already arrived.

Hands & Feet.

Dry Hands.

Do you suffer from dry hands especially in the winter? Simply squeeze the juice of a lemon into a bowl of warm water, dunk your hands into the soothing mixture, keep your hands immersed for 2-3 minutes, then dry them off and poor olive oil into the palm of your hand gently rub it in by massaging it into your hands.

 

Uses for the humble lemon 6.

Hair & Nails.

 

Help with dandruff.

These are two ways that lemons can rid you of an itching scalp and embaressing dandruff flakes on the shoulders. Try adding 2 tbsp of lemon juice to 120 ml/4 fl oz 1/2 cup olive oil, gently rub the mixture onto your scalp & leave it for about 15 minutes before rinsing off, then you can shampoo & condition your hair as normal. Alternatively mix a few drops of lemon juice to an egg white, apply mixture to your scalp, rub it in, leave on for about an hour before shampooing your hair with lukewarm water & then rinsing, you can repeat this procedure four/five times a month to eliminate dandruff.

Reduce hair loss.

Hair loss can be tackled by using a combination of lemon juice & coconut milk. Mix the juice of a lemon to 4 tbsp coconut milk, apply the mixture to the scalp at least once a week, rinse your hair with warm water to remove the mixture and then shampoo & condition as normal.

Hair Conditioner.

If you have dull or damaged hair mix your own hair conditioner using lemon juice. 120 ml/4 fl oz 1/2 cup of honey & 200 ml/7 fl ox 1/4 cup of olive oil, shampoo your hair as normal & towel dry, apply the mixture to your hair & comb it through, cover your hair with a plastic cap & leave for 30 minutes, then shampoo & rinse your hair as normal. For more general condionter use 1 egg, the juice of half lemon, 1 tbsp of olive oil & 3 tbsp of henna powder, beat the egg until its frothy then slowly add the henna powder & lemon juice, you may need to add a few drops of water at this stage if the mixture feels too stiff, allow the mixture to set for an hour before using, apply to your hair & leave it on for an hour before rinsing & shampooing.

Treating Damaged or Coloured Hair.

Bleaching & colouring agents can often damage your hair, rinsing with water & the juice of 1/2 a lemon encourages natural proteins which can counteract hair damage.

Shiny Nails.

To get lovely shiny nails, soak your finger & toe nails in lemon juice for 10 minutes & brush them with a soft toothbrush or small nail brush using a mixture of white wine vinegar & warm water 2 tbsp of each), mixed with the juice of half a lemon, it will help your nails stay bright, strong & shiny. This is also a good way of removing the yellow colour that develops with the regular use of nail polish.

Strong Nails.

To soften your cuticles & strengthen your nails at the same time add 3 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice to a little liquid soap, add a few drops of warm water and soak your nails in the mixture for 5 minutes, this will leave your fingers feeling soft & your nails strong & healthy.

If you have brittle finger nails try rubbing sliced lemon en them every day, this will help your nails become much stronger & sturdier.

 

Uses for the humble lemon 5.

All parts of a lemon contain something that we can use to make ourselves look & feel beautiful, we can use it on our hair, skin & nails & not for just one thing-lemon juice is a truly diverse organic beauty aid. It can cleanse, moisturize, help maintain the pH balance in the skin and soften it. But perhaps more importantly it can help us maintain a healthy body. What more could you want from a piece of fruit.

Caution. If you have any skin sensitivity try a test patch for any of these lemon treatments first, as they are quite acidic. If the lemon juice stings you should rinse it off immediately and remember not to go straight into the sunlight.

Skin.

Cleansing.

Lemons have a strong reputation for being particularly  good for cleansing & the also have clarifying properties. Lemon juice can help remove dead skin cells & stimulate collagen production, you could use this lemon cleansing treatment every day to remove the dirt and grime that has built up on your face. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a bowl & apply to your face with your fingertips, gently massage the juice into your pores and then rinse your face.

Caution. Do not cleanse the area around the eyes with juice as this could cause stinging.

Deep cleansing.

lemons are particularly useful for combating greasy skin as they are great for unclogging pores. The lemon oil helps balance overactive sebaceous glands which are often what causes greasy skin, blocked pores & skin blemishes. One good method of deep cleansing to make sure those pores are cleaned thoroughly is to steam the face. Fill a bowl with boiling water and add the peel of half a lemon, with your face over the bowl & a tea over your head let the lemony steam penetrate the pores. You’ll be amazed at how refreshing this feels too.

Toning. 

Once you’ve cleansed your face you’ll want to tone it to close those pores up again. Use two parts ice-cold water to one part lemon juice. Apply the cold toner to clean skin & allow it to dry naturally. You can store this toner in the fridge for several days.

Caution. DO not be tempted to go into the sunshine after using this toner on your face because the juice can react to the sun’s  UV rays and burn or blemish your skin.

Toning oily skin.

For oily skin mix 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 2 tbsp of vodka, 1 tbsp distilled water & 1tsp of witch hazel. Use a cotton wool pad to apply the toner to your skin and rince your face with water. You can keep this toner in the fridge for a week.

Moisturizing.

Lemon juice moisturizes as well as cleanses and tones. It is the lemon acids that are good at moisturizing because they help the skin to prevent water loss, lemon can help soften & smooth even the driest skin. Smooth the lemon juice over the skin, either with your fingertips or cotton wool & let it dry before rinsing it off, you don’t have to squeeze the lemon, just chop it in half & apply the lemon directly to your face squeezing a little to release the juice.

Facial Exfoliator.

To get rid of dead facial skin cells, cut a lemon in half and dip it into ordinary white sugar, using this as your exfoliator gently rub your face to remove the build up of dead skin. If you do this regularly you’ll notice the difference. The lemon juice is really good at loosening dead skin cells & the sugar acts a mild abrasive. Do it at bedtime though so you’re not at risk in the sunlight immediately afterwards.

Wrinkle reducers.

Lemons can be used in a number of different ways to help improve the appearance of wrinkles, one of the simplest methods is to stir a teaspoon of sugar into 2 tbsp of lemon juice, massage this into your skin using your fingertips. Leave it on your face for 10 minutes before rinsing off with water. This treatment will exfoliate the skin, but the Vitamin C in the lemon will also promote the production of collagen. Acids in the sugar will help repair skin damage and also remove dead skin.

Pimple & Blackhead remover.

We all know clogged pores can cause blackheads & pimples, here is where lemons can help. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a small bowl, did a cotton wool ball into the juice and dab it onto your face taking care to avoid your eyes, you can either leave it on for around 10 minutes before washing it off, or you can leave the juice to soak over night before rinsing it off in the morning. The citric acid in the juice will naturally dissolve the oil that conspire to create blackheads.

Cleansing facial masks.

As a regular treatment for blackheads mix 2 tbsp of oatmeal with 4 tbsp of plain yoghurt & 1 tbsp lemon juice, mix the ingredients into a paste & apply to the skin, leave it on for at least 5 minutes then rinse off with cold water, either pat dry or leave to dry naturally.

Body Exfoliator.

This may sound more like a torture than a beauty aid, but it is great for getting rid of those dead cells. Prepare in advance a mixture of 225 g/8 oz 3/4 cup of sea salt with 1/2 tbsp of lemon oil & put it beside the bath. Run yourself a warm bath, rub your damp skin with the lemon-scented salt, this will deal with dead skin cells and give your skin a smooth and healthy glow. You could try adding coconut oil or almond oil in addition to the lemon oil to give you a really sumptuous-smelling body scrub for the bath.

Body Massage.

In addition to all the other wonderful things we’ve learned about, lemons are also believed to help the skins elasticity and discourage cellulite. Try mixing equal amounts of honey, vegetable oil & lemon juice together, use this as your massage oil and pay particular attention to those areas of the body that are particularly dry, leave the mixture on your body for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off in the shower or a warm bath.

 

Uses for the humble lemon 4.

Natural Insecticide.

A majority of insects really don’t like the smell of lemon juice, but you do need to be thorough in your application of lemon juice and peel, make sure you squeeze liberal amounts of juice on doorsteps & windowsills as well as any obvious cracks or gaps in the brick work where you think they might get through. Try placing strips of peel around your doorsteps.

Deter unwelcome House Guests.

If you have got insects in your house, i.e kitchen, perhaps in your cupboards, reach for the lemon again, the limonene is toxic to insects, wipe your surfaces or cupboards with either lemon oil/juice to get rid of them.

Unwanted house flies.

House flies carry lots of bacteria that they spread where ever they land, what’s worse than seeing them crawling round the kitchen surfaces, using lemon juice regularly on your worktops will keep them pesky flies at bay.

Unwanted closet moths.

Do you have/think you might have moths in your wardrobe and want to get rid of them, place a bag of dried lemon peel in the wardrobe.

Deter visiting cats.

Using lemon/orange peel in your garden is an effective cat repellent, grate & sprinkle liberal amounts of lemon/orange peel where those cats tend to to go in your garden & that should send them back home.

Train your own cats.

Are there parts of your home you want your cat/s to keep away from, mix some lemon juice in water, put in a spray bottle, spray it in the areas you don’t want them to go. You might have to do this regularly until they are trained.

Improve soil quality.

Who would like to make their own compost? If you make your own organic compost it will be much better for your garden soil than shop bought composts that contain chemicals, the secret to good quality soil is good quality compost, by adding citrus fruit to the compost can help improve soil quality enormously because it enriches the soil with nutrients, the lemon, orange or grapefruit will help to regulate the oxygen to the roots of the plants.

Uses for the humble lemon, 3

                                                                      Home & Garden.

Laundry.

Who uses clothes whitener in their washing? Me too.

Here’s a cheaper way to get your whites whiter:- By adding lemon juice to your normal wash cycle, how much you pop in the washing machine depends on the amount of white laundry you are hoping to whiten, for a complete bed set of whites use the juice of two lemons, for a couple of white tops squeeze in half a lemon.

For a failsafe way of removing stains or whitening clothes. soak them in a mixture of half lemon juice and half water before washing, if clothes are badly stained you might find it useful in addition to the pre-soak to add lemon juice to the washing machine too. Those stains will not survive these treatments.

Air freshener.

To freshen the air in the kitchen, particularly if you’ve been cooking fish or strong smelling foods, cut a lemon in half and immerse in a pan of water, bring to the boil and the aroma will fill the kitchen, let it simmer away for a number of hours, remember to keep the water topped up.

Freshen as you clean.

Pop a few drops of lemon oil onto a piece of kitchen paper and pop it into your vacuum bag or onto the filter area, what a great way freshen your house.

Another way to freshen a room is to place lemon juice onto a piece of kitchen paper, then coat a light bulb in the room of your choice, when the bulb warms up the lemon provides an aroma. (remember to do this when the light bulb is completely cold). 

Freshen Carpets & rugs.

This takes a little forethought, mix together 10 drops of lemon oil with an equal amount of one of your other favourite essential oils, add this mixture to 125 g/4 1/2 oz bicarbonate of soda (bicarb is great at neutralizing odours and the oils provide long-lasting sweet aromas, Leave the mixture overnight to ensure the bicarb has absorbed all of the oil and liberally sprinkle it over your carpets & rugs. Let it soak into the tufts of them for a while & then vacuum up the mixture.

Renew Hardened Paintbrushes.

Hands up who has left paint on paintbrushes & its hardened & you have no white spirits? Here’s a way to help remove that paint. Boil the juice of 1-2 lemons and pop your paintbrushes into it for around 15 minutes simmering away. Turn off the heat, remove the brush/es then wash it in hot soapy water. Bendy brushes again 🙂

Holiday Decorations.

Looking to make your own decorations using lemons of course. This does need a bit of advanced planning, it would make your tree unique. In about October put several lemons in a dark cupboard to dry out, making sure you check them from time to time. You could also start to gather pieces of ribbon & pretty, glittering items to stick onto the dried lemons before the holidays start. When your ready to decorate your tree, stick or pin your items into the lemons, stick a piece of ribbon onto each one to use for hanging & you’ll have unique tree decorations. (you could also use oranges in the same way).

Useful uses for the humble lemon 2.

Furniture Polish.

The limonene in the lemon’s essential oils can dissolve the different types of grime that build up on wooden furniture. This include old furniture polish, wax, fingerprints & general dust & dirt. To make your own furniture polish mix together in a sealable container, 250 ml/8 fl oz olive oil with 120 ml/4 fl oz cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice strained so that there are no lumps of lemon pulp. Dab a little of your mixture onto a clean cloth and polish the furniture in the normal way. The lemon juice is great for grime busting & the olive oil also gives wooden furniture a lovely shine & nourishes the wood too, it can also be used for bringing a shine to hard wood floors.

Odour removal from wooden surfaces.

Wood surfaces & chopping boards can harbour harmful germs & soak up unpleasant smells. By rubbing half a lemon liberally over the surface of the chopping board or work surface, leave to dry completely, rinse off with cold water, this will disinfect the surface and remove lingering smells. Do not use this on highly polished wooden furniture the lemon is too acidic.

Kitchen Appliances.

How many of you buy dishwasher fresheners & cleaners? Using half a lemon gives just as good a result. Cut the lemon in half & impale onto one of the prongs inside the dishwasher, the acid from it will degrease the appliance & the fresh lemon smell will linger for several days.

Microwave Cleaner.

Microwaves are great for lingering smells, and every time you use your microwave the smells accentuate. Placing one or two slices of lemon in a cup of water placed inside the microwave on high for 30 seconds will help clean it, the lemon will be steamed in the microwave & all that is required is a clean dry cloth to wipe away any excess steam. Want an alternative way to freshen up your microwave, make a paste of 1 tsp white vinegar, 50 ml/2 fl oz/1/4 cup of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and 6 drops of lemon oil. Apply this paste to the inside of the microwave, then rinse with cold water. If you leave the door open for a while then the air will help to dry your clean, bacteria free microwave.

Oven cleaner.

You can use the bicarbonate of soda & lemon juice mix inside the oven, lemons contain natural lemon oil & acid the boost the cleaning process by dissolving grease. Make sure your oven is completely cool before you apply the lemony bicarbonate of soda. Good proportions to make ideal paste are, 2 tbsp of bicarbonate of soda to 250 ml/8 fl oz of water, to mix add the juice of a whole lemon

Bathroom.

By rubbing lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda round your toilet seat and bowl will not only disinfect & remove stains from your toilet seat & basin, but leave a fresh smell in your bathroom.

Chocolate Cheesecake.

12 oz 340 g sweetmeal/digestive biscuits ground down until they resemble breadcrumbs. Half this amount if using smaller tin.

6 oz 170 g butter/margarine.

1 1/2 blocks plain chocolate broken up.

2 oz 75 g caster sugar.

1-2 oz 25-50 g icing sugar.

2 tubs soft soya plain cheese.

12 in flan tin with loose bottom.

 

1. Grease the flan tin.

2. Melt margarine in pan & add biscuits, stir till they come together, place in flan tin, press using back of wooden spoon until they are flat, place into the fridge.

3. 1/4 fill a medium-large pan with water, place plain chocolate in heat proof dish & place over the water stirring occasionally until chocolate has melted.

4. While chocolate is melting place the cheese in a mixing bowl, add caster sugar and mix together.

5. Add the melted chocolate to the cheese and stir together, add the icing sugar.

6. place small amounts of the cheese mixture onto the biscuit base and spread over. Place back into the fridge over night until set. Add grated chocolate on top for decoration.

 

In stead of using chocolate you could use lemons & rind, or the cheese plain mixed with sugar and add fruit of your choice on top.

Daily tips for the humble lemon.

Lemons are great to use around the house; from cleaning, laundry, health, cooking & beauty.

 

Cleaning & Laundry.

 

The humble lemon is organic, does not contain harsh chemicals & isn’t expensive, it is environmentally friendly & a perfect substitute for many household cleaning products; lemons are an incredible useful cleaning resource & can be used for a variety of different chores around the home, & the cost a fraction of the price & are better for your health.

 

All purpose cleaning solutions.

 

Lemons are great for removing the build up of limescale from around stainless steel sinks & draining boards, lemon peel is also great at keeping chrome taps from limescale, all you have to do is cut a lemon in half, rub it over the affected area, leave it to do its work for at least half an hour, then rince with cold water & buff with a dry cloth.

 

Disinfectant.

 

Do you want to kill of bacteria without having to clean off the residue left by most chemical cleaning products, why not use a lemon? The acids contained in lemon kill off the bacteria, which do not survive in an acidic environment. Lemon juice can disinfect most kitchen work tops, including chopping boards & sinks as well as bathroom sinks and surfaces, the juice kills the bacteria in a natural way & leaves a fresh fragrance.

 

Why not try adding a small amount of lemon juice to drinking water to ensure no bacteria are surviving there.

 

Degreaser. 

 

Pure lemon juice is a great way to get rid of grease build-up, you have to apply the juice liberally to the effected area and give it a little time to cut through the grease, but it does work, and you have the added bonus of the fresh smell of lemons. The limonene in the lemon’s essential oil is what removes the grease & this is also has an anti-bacterial properties.