The 4×4 Challenge

For each week of January, the Good4U team are challenging themselves and you to adopt one new simple, healthy habit designed to improve our overall wellbeing in mind, body and soul. The first challenge sounds simple but is often overlooked- hydration! We challenge you to drink at least two litres of water every day, plus we’ll look at how much water we actually need, how and why this can change from person to person and tips to help you with water consumption. 

Next, we invite you to take a deeper look at nutrition with the “30 Plant Challenge”, encouraging you to get 30 plants a week into your diet. This is great for micro-flora, mood, digestion, weight management and much more. If this sounds like a lot, don’t worry- we’ll be posting recipes, shopping lists, meal plans and advice to help you find your feet. 

For week 3 of the challenge, our hydrated and nourish bodies are going on the move! We challenge you to get 10,000 steps a day in if you can or 30 minutes of activity each day. Whether you enjoy walking and hiking, sea swim, home HIIT workouts, find something you enjoy doing. We’ll be looking at how movement affects the body, how to optimise your hydration and nutrition for increased movement as well and workouts you can do from home. 

Lastly, after our bodies feel great from our weeks of hydration, nutrition and movement, we’ll be looking into the mind, which is just as important to keep healthy for overall wellbeing. There are many simple, convenient exercises that can help our mental health, from breathing exercises, meditation techniques to positive affirmations and journaling to help organise our thoughts.

These four simple habits are simple to adopt and could greatly help your body, mind and soul. Let’s kick January off with great habits and start as we mean to go on for a happy, healthy and safe 2021. 

Follow us on social media and sign up to our newsletter for all the resources, recipes, videos and information you’ll need to do the 4×4 challenge, and don’t be a stranger, we want to hear your own tips, questions and advice to help spur others on too! 

Sign Up For the Good4U 4×4 Challenge

    Anthony Mullally

    We spoke with Good4U Ambassador and plant based athlete, Anthony Mullally, to find out what he believes is important for his physical and mental heath.

    Hydration

    Q:How important is hydration to you as an athlete?
    A:Hydration is key. It helps prevent soft tissues injuries and cramping. Making sure you’re getting the right electrolytes is also crucial.

    Q:How much water do you drink daily?
    A:3/4 litres dependent on the volume of training

    Q:Does this increase on a training day?
    A:Yes, it depends on the volume of training. I would like to drink around 1 litre of water the morning of a training day


    Nutrition

    Top 5 Favourite Sources of Protein

    • Black Beans
    • Hemp Seeds
    • Quinoa
    • Lentils
    • Soya Chunks

     

    Plant Powered Day

    Breakfast: Porridge oats with a scoop of protein, walnuts, peanut butter, cinnamon and banana 
    Snack: Protein shake post weights with creatine in it.
    Lunch: Buckwheat pasta with a peanut sauce with, carrots, broccoli, tofu, peppers
    Snack: Hummus on sourdough 
    Dinner: Stuffed peppers with, soy mince, lentils, black beans and spinach.

    Q:Do you count calories?
    A: I do yes. It’s important to do so and also to know how many calories you need to gain or lose weight. Tracking calories is the only way to do this.

    Q: What does Christmas dinner look like?
    A: Nut roast is my meat substitute, then just your normal veggies, just no butter in the mash potatoes and no pigs in blankets of course.


    Mindfulness

    Q: What does a typical day look like?
    A: Get up for training around 6am, meditate for 30 minutes, go to training until around 2pm, get back home and go out for a walk in the countryside, read a book at some point, cook dinner then go to bed.

    Q: How important is the mental side of competing?
    A: The mental side of competition is half the battle. You can have everything and more physically but if you aren’t mentally resilient it’s going to be a tough road. Resilience comes from adversity and overcoming, the more we overcome the more mentally robust we become.

    Q: Do you practice meditation or any mindfulness exercises?
    A: Meditation is a crucial part of my daily routine, it helps me focus, get into a positive mind set and filter out thoughts that might not be serving me.

    Home Grown Food

    Regrow Your Lettuce

    For this experiment you will need:
    A stump of lettuce
    A bowl
    A little water.

    Pour some water in the bowl then place the lettuce stump in the bowl. Make sure the water does not cover the lettuce, if it does tip some water out.
    Change the water each day and watch the leaves grow.

    Things to think about with this experiment:

    How long do you think it will take to start growing?
    Do you think it will grow to the same size as the original lettuce
    How many days was there clear growth?

    Why not try growing some other vegetables using the some method. These listed below can be started in water, but should be transplanted to dirt for full growth and harvest.

    Avocado
    Basil
    Beets
    Ginger
    Cilantro
    Mint
    Mushrooms
    Onions
    Parsnips
    Pineapple
    Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes
    Turnips
    Why not try some others as well!

    What’s in season this July?

    Firstly what does ‘in season’ really mean? Well, basically it refers to a time in the year when a certain food (fruit or veg in this case) is at its peak in terms of harvest and flavour. 

    Now, you may wonder, what’s the point? There are many benefits to the consumer, locality and wider environment if we aim to eat produce which is in season.

    1.Quality of flavour is usually much better

    2. There are less air miles,  freight or general travel time and storage

    3. travel and storage may lead to damage of produce, reduce nutritive value and quicker spoilage which can lead to increased food waste

    4. Buying in season means you support local producers

    5. You get variety of produce all year round (more potential for delicious recipes!)

    This July why not try and buy what is in season and notice a difference in the quality, taste and enjoyment you get from a fruit or vegetable. If you’re really keen try to grow your own and feel the pride of cooking VERY local produce for friends and family.

    What is in season this July? Take a look at the LONG list below, I think you’ll be surprised!

     

    Strawberries

    Raspberries

    Blackberries

    Asparagus

    Beetroot

    Aubergine

    Tomatoes

    Peppers

    Cabbage

    Mangetout

    Mushrooms

    Carrots

    Peas

    Potatoes

    Cauliflower

    Rhubarb

    Turnip 

    Courgette

    Cucumber

    Shallots

    Celery

    Broccoli

    Runner Beans

    Spinach

     

    Time to check out the Good4U recipe page to rustle up delicious dishes with some fresh seasonal fruit and veg!

     

    Tips For Travelling With Kids

    Travelling with kids? Avoid the tantrums and become an expert by preparing yourself with these essential tips!

     

    1.Give yourself TIME!

    Travelling with kids can mean unexpected tantrums and toilet stops, among other things. The single most important piece of advice we can give you is to allow plenty of time to deal with the unexpected and get there stress free!

     

    2.Bring Supplies 

    Long journeys are no time to be worrying about your kid’s screen time- if you have a tablet/phone with some games or videos that will keep them entertained make sure you bring it. Trust us, you will be glad to have Peppa at your disposal near the end of a long boring journey. A new colouring book or travel game can also be a great distraction for tired children. 

     

    3. Don’t bring the kitchen sink.

    Although it’s tempting to pack everything you own in an attempt to be prepared for every possible scenario, remember that almost everything can be bought on your holiday. If you are carrying small children you don’t want to be laden down with excessively heavy luggage.

     

    4.Have a plan – but don’t over do it.

    You want to keep the little ones entertained, but you don’t want your trip to be regimented. Be prepared by making a list of possible activities for all kinds of weather before you go and then when you get there you can go with the flow and decide what you would like to do each day.

     

    5. Sustenance is key- bring lots of snacks

    Travelling whether by plane, train or car, with young children, snacks are non- negotiable. Stock up on healthy treats that  are low in added sugar to keep them fuller for longer without resulting in any sugar fuelled hyperactivity in the airport. You may also want to bring extra in case the local cuisine isn’t going to fly with your fussy tot.

     

    6. Keep calm and enjoy it!

    You are on your holidays after all! Prepare for as many situations as you can and don’t worry about the rest. If your child chooses the worst possible time to scream the place down, you will get through that too. Just stay calm, grab an ice cream and appreciate the quality family time while you can.

     

     

    Feeding your skin, hair and nails

    Let’s face it (excuse the pun!) we all would love flawless skin and hair and beautiful natural nails but we can’t have it all!

    People spend a lot of cash dollar bills on lotions and potions to improve their beauty but do we address one of the most fundamental aspects of beauty? Our diets? The power of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients can give your hair and skin a more radiant, healthy and youthful glow. Let’s discuss what kind of vitamins and minerals we can include in our diets to boost beauty from within.

     

    Key nutrients for skin

    Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps to create collagen in skin. Aim to consume plenty of fruit and vegetables to top up on this super skin vitamin.

    Selenium helps in keeping skin firm and protects collagen. It can be found in foods like meat, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.

    Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and can help fight against skin ageing and wrinkles. Include almonds, sunflower seeds and spinach in your diet to ensure you get adequate amounts of vitamin E.

    Omega 3 fatty acids are found in oily fish, nuts and seeds and these are necessary for skin repair and flexibility.

    Vitamin A helps to repair skin and prevent skin dryness and can be found in oily fish, cheese, butter, egg, peppers and carrots.

    Zinc in beans, nuts, wholegrains and spinach protects the skin from UV rays.

    Of course, one of the key things we can do is protect ourselves from the sun by seeking shade where possible, covering our skin and wearing sunscreen.

     

    Key nutrients for hair

    Iron and zinc help hair to grow. We have already spoken about zinc but iron is present mainly in red meat and spinach (zinc as above).

    Protein is needed for growth and repair of hair cells and for strength. Top up on meat, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts and seeds to get your fill.

    Eat oily fish and top up on omega 3 fatty acids help to hydrate hair.

    Biotin is a B vitamin which helps hair to grow. Root veg, liver, meat, egg yolk, wholegrains and nuts are all good sources of biotin.

     

    Key nutrients for nails:

    Save your pennies and do a DIY natural nail manicure.. from within! Eating the correct nutrients will ensure your nails stay strong, shiny and absolutely fabulous!

    Calcium and Vitamin A play a role in preventing nails becoming dry, brittle and weak. Stock up on dairy foods and green leafy veg for your calcium and incorporate some of the foods mention above to get enough Vitamin A.

    Other important nutrients for nail health include iron and zinc to prevent those white spots that often appear on nails, protein to keep nails strong, biotin for strength and folic acid to prevent reddish-brown spots on nails.

    This may seem like a long list of nutrients and you might think you’ll never possibly eat of them but do not fear – a well balanced diet will ensure you get these nutrients!

    Apple Cider Vinegar – Does It Live Up To The Hype?

    Everywhere we look now it seems that apple cider vinegar is the modern cure for all ailments! You’d nearly believe at this stage that if could sprinkle some on your exam paper you’d come out with 100%- it’s apparently that amazing! Really though, did we all just jump on a band wagon full of apple cider vinegar? How many of these so-called health benefits are true?!

    Blood glucose levels: research has shown that ACV can reduce blood glucose initially after you eat a carbohydrate-rich meal BUT it doesn’t stop glucose being absorbed.. it just delays it. Therefore, it may be beneficial for people suffering from diabetes but an overall healthy balanced diet and exercise should do the job!

    Weight loss: Everyone is looking for a miracle weight loss cure. Well, I’m afraid that there is little research on the benefits of ACV for promotion of weight loss. Some studies suggest it may promote satiety and led participants to consuming approx 200kcal less during the day. But, this may be just due to a delay in gastric emptying or by the nausea experienced by some people who consume ACV. Hmmm.. ok.

    Teeth whitening: It’s a form of acid people?! Research does not support people using it as a teeth whitener and frankly, neither do I. It can cause damage to enamel and overall dental health if used in excess. Just brush twice daily and reduced the amount of sugar you consume and your teeth will benefit friends.

    Cardiovascular disease: Many studies which look at the effect of vinegar consumption on cardiovascular disease have been carried out on rats and some show reduced blood pressure, triglycerides and total cholesterol but there is a lack of evidence in relation to humans so proceed with caution on this one.

    Digestion: ACV may help to break down food as it is added to the stomach acid. However, it can be harmful to people who suffer with digestive or stomach problems (particularly stomach ulcers).

    We must remember that apple cider vinegar is highly acidic so if you are going to use it then ask your GP just to rule out any health issues which may be underlying and try to dilute it down with water. Many of the studies in relation to ACV have been carried out in small sample sizes with varying results. More controlled studies with larger sample sizes are needed before we clear the shelves of ACV. Read the label and find out the facts before use.

    Fabulous Fish- Why you should be eating more of it!

    Fish is oh so healthy, not to mention DELICIOUS! It’s super versatile and so easy to cook. Fish is an extremely healthy food, particularly oily fish and can be paired with such a huge range of foods to create a beautifully balanced meal. Here’s just some of the health benefits associated with eating some fish.

    Fish is a great source of protein. Protein is needed in the body for growth and repair of body cells. White fish also contains little or no fat, so combine this with the protein content and it’s an excellent choice for people who are on a weight – reduction programme. On top of this protein is satiating which means it can help us feel fuller for longer. 

    Fish is also a great source of many vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, vitamin D, iodine, potassium, calcium and selenium. Maintaining a wide variety of all of these nutrients ensure we have adequate energy, repair and growth of body cells and creation of hormones for all bodily functions. 

    Oily fish contains omega 3 fatty acids which are necessary for brain health and play a role in prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Consumption of omega fatty acids has also been associated with a reduction in triglycerides which can in turn, reduce cardiovascular risk.

    Increased consumption of fish has been associated with many health benefits such as a reduction in overweight and obesity, better bone health and can aid in cognitive development.

    Fish can be baked, grilled, pan-fried, poached.. the list goes on! It only takes a short time to cook and can be incorporated into dishes for all of the family. Products such as tinned fish and smoked fish make it easy and quick to consume fish on the go and for children.

    Check out our recipe page for inspiration!

    Should you eat before a workout?

    Achieving your fitness goals can be hard and sometimes even knowing if you should eat or WHAT to eat before a workout can be difficult! No one wants a stitch half way through a run but we don’t want to be starving either. Let’s chat a little bit about what to snack on before a workout.

    Not eating something before a workout isn’t something I recommend however it may just suit some people particularly if they are early risers and get that gym session in at 6am!  For others it can leave them feeling dizzy, nauseated and tired. It can also affect our performance as our muscles need that energy to work to their best ability.

    Carbohydrates provide energy in our bodies and our muscles store carbohydrate in the form of glycogen for times when we need it. Eating carbohydrates before training can allow us to use this energy in the form of glucose to fuel our workout. It also saves the glycogen stored in our muscles for other times we may need it. It’s a good idea to eat a bit of protein before training too as it allows repair and building of muscle cells which are damaged when we workout.

    Make sure to drink water!! Water is essential for any type of training. Sip on it before and during your workout for optimal performance.

    Examples of carb and protein snacks to have before a workout:

    • some fruit and unsalted mixed nuts or seeds
    • a slice of wholegrain toast and peanut butter
    • low-sugar oatmeal bar/granola bar
    • dried fruit and Greek yoghurt
    • chicken/turkey/pitta on wholegrain crackers
    • scrambled/boiled eggs on wholegrain toast
    • milk
    • apple/pear and nut butter

    Ideally we should be eating a pre-workout snack about an hour before a workout but this may not work for some people and that is FINE! Find what works for YOU and GET MOVING!

    Don’t forget our Good4U snacks are great sources of pre-workout carbohydrates and have that extra protein boost to keep us going! Grab a snack NOW!