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Fig, Walnut & Ginger Uncookies

Recipe: Fig, Walnut & Ginger Uncookies

Perfect for Christmas or any time of the year, these cookies are the cookie that you don’t cook! They are great for entertaining and just for having when you need a little yummy snack with a cuppa. This healthy Fig, Walnut & Ginger Uncookies recipe is courtesy of the new cookbook The Midlife Kitchen which is full of ‘health-boosting recipes’, from one of our favourite foodie Instagram feeds by the same name. Enjoy!

Yield: 10-12, Active Time: 15 minutes, Total Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

200g dried soft figs

2 tbsp water

Juice of a lime

50g walnuts, crushed

2 tbsp LSA or ground almonds

1 tsp fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 tsp ground cinnamon

A pinch of sea salt

Coating: more LSA or ground almonds

 

METHOD

Put everything in a food processor and whizz. You may need to use a spatula between pulses to make sure the ingredients are fully incorporated. You can make the ‘dough’ as chunky or as smooth as you like – I prefer it a little chunky.

If the mixture is too dry add a little more water; if too wet add more LSA or ground almonds. It should be soft but not too sticky.

Take a heaped teaspoon of the mixture and form into a small disc/cookie shape, approximately 3-4cm in diameter.

Coat each uncookie in more LSA or ground almonds.

Chill for 30 minutes or so before eating to firm up and make them deliciously chewy. Uncookies will keep in the fridge for up to a week but I can assure you that they won’t hang around that long!

 

HEALTH TIP

Don’t be put off nuts because they are relatively high in calories – they’re full of protein and fibre to keep you feeling full, so you’ll probably eat less overall. Studies have shown that people who consume nuts are less likely to be overweight than those who don’t.

 

Recipe extracted from The Midlife Kitchen, by Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice – available on Booktopia, Dymocks and from all good bookshops.  Follow on Instgram @midlifekitchen

Middle Age Spread Midlife Kitchen

Recipe: Middle Age Spread

This recipe takes 10 minutes and will be the most productive 10 minutes of your week guaranteed. Because you will be left with a spread you can use for toast, vegetables and crackers (in fact use your imagination) that is so delicious and also super healthy. This healthy Middle Age Spread recipe is courtesy of the new cookbook The Midlife Kitchen which is full of ‘health-boosting recipes’, from one of our favourite foodie Instagram feeds by the same name. Enjoy!

Yield: 500 grams, Active Time: 10 minutes, Total Time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 250g bag of spinach

1 400g can butter beans, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

A small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1 tsp ground coriander and 1 tsp ground cumin

2 tbsp Greek yogurt

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

Sea salt

Fresh, ground black pepper

 

METHOD

Wilt the spinach in a frying pan on a low heat for 2 minutes. Drain and use kitchen towel to remove any moisture.

Place the spinach in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and pulse to a semi-smooth texture. 

This can be eaten warm, or cold from the fridge, where it will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

 

HEALTH TIP

Butter beans are the star here, providing protein, healthy carbs and a brilliant fibre fix. This benefits the cardiovascular and digestive systems, as well as priming energy levels.

 

Recipe extracted from The Midlife Kitchen, by Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice – available on Booktopia, Dymocks and from all good bookshops.  Follow on Instgram @midlifekitchen

Can you do Pilates While Pregnant?

Pilates is famous for being an effective and enjoyable method of movement but is it really suitable during pregnancy and post-partum? The simple answer to this question is – absolutely!

Contrary to popular belief, Pilates does not ‘focus’ on abdominal strength. It focuses on full body movement because the whole body needs to be uniformly strong and flexible to be in peak condition. What’s the point in having a rocking 6 pack if your gluteal muscles aren’t strong enough to help you off the couch?

The need for a strong and flexible body does not diminish once pregnant. Current research (ASCM Guidelines for Exercise Testing and prescription) shows that moderate exercise 3 to 4 times per week is ideal for healthy pregnant women. The recommendation states, “Dynamic, rhythmic physical activities that use large muscle groups are ideal.” – Pilates anyone? All women who are pregnant and healthy are encouraged to exercise throughout their pregnancy however movement will need to be modified throughout pregnancy based on symptoms, discomforts and abilities of the individual.

I find small group sessions of 1 – 3 participants utilising the reformer, Cadillac and wunda chair to be the most enjoyable and effective classes for pregnant and post-natal clients. These sessions are so great because of the vast amount of modifications available for all stages of pregnancy. These variations in the movement are so valuable not only because it allows flexibility in the movement being taught but also because it means that you will never get bored during class. The Cadillac, chair and reformer allow movements to be performed standing, side lying or sitting once supine (lying on your back) is not an option for you. We offer these small group classes along with our group reformer classes at Pilates & Co. Modifications to suit your stage of pregnancy are offered in both types of class.

AVOID DURING PREGNANCY:

  • Lying flat on your back after 16 weeks. This ensures that venous obstruction does not occur
  • High humidity
  • Isometric muscle actions i.e. weighted holds
  • Contact sports
  • Quickly increasing physical exercise (especially if sedentary)
  • Overstretching, due to the release of the hormone relaxin during pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol

TO-DO DURING A HEALTHY PREGNANCY:

  • Good movement
  • Time outdoors
  • Gentle Pelvic floor exercises – don’t overdo it!
  • Time to relax
  • Trust your body
  • Nurture and nourish yourself
  • Stay hydrated
  • Listen to your body – you are a unique and beautiful individual. No comparisons or self-judgment are needed.

Pregnancy is not a condition or disorder, however, if you have not been active previously or have any contraindications for exercising during pregnancy, it’s necessary to check with your doctor before joining a class.

Belinda Survilla is a mother of 3 and Manager of Pilates & Co. and regularly teaches Pilates reformer, reformer HIIT, clinical small group and private sessions at the studio. Belinda found the benefits of practising this wonderful method of movement invaluable, allowing her the strength and confidence to take back her health.  instagram @belindasurvilla

Midlife Kitchen Shashouka

Recipe: Midlife Kitchen Shashouka

A Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern favourite, this dish is served for breakfast but can be eaten all day, every day, as far as we’re concerned. It’s so tasty and packed full of goodness. This healthy Shashouka recipe is courtesy of the new cookbook The Midlife Kitchen which is full of ‘health-boosting recipes’, from one of our favourite foodie Instagram feeds by the same name. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 2, Active Time: 25 minutes, Total Time: 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

A spray of olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 small peppers, one red, one yellow, deseeded and chopped

1 400g can chopped tomatoes

½ tsp chilli flakes (or more, to taste)

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp brown sugar

A squeeze of lemon juice

4 eggs

Sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper

To serve:

A handful of fresh parsley, chopped

A dollop of Greek yogurt

 

METHOD

Heat a medium-sized frying pan and spray with a little olive oil.

Add the chopped onion and sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften.

Add garlic and continue to sauté, then add the peppers and cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat until softened.

Stir in the tomatoes, together with the chilli flakes, spices, sugar and lemon and simmer for a further 5-7 minutes until it starts to reduce.

Make 4 evenly-spaced wells in the tomato mixture and then crack one egg in to each. Season well and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the egg whites are firm and the yolks still runny.

Garnish with parsley and yogurt on the side.

 

HEALTH TIP

Studies have shown that lycopene, a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes, is boosted by cooking, so by slowly simmering this rich, red sauce you are also maximising the nutritional benefit.

 

Recipe extracted from The Midlife Kitchen, by Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice – available on Booktopia, Dymocks and from all good bookshops.  Follow on Instgram @midlifekitchen

Pilates Reformer Pilates & Co Gold Coast - pilates is great for athletes

Why Pilates is great for athletes

What professional dancers and performers discovered years ago, athletes and sporting professionals are discovering now. It’s that Pilates is not only a killer workout, it’s one of the best forms of full-body conditioning. And what that translates to is that Pilates is great for athletes – both female and male. We have a number of men who do classes at our studio, and some male instructors too, but we’d love to see more of them complementing their sports training with Reformer Pilates and here’s why…

Research has linked Pilates to better flexibility, increase core stabilisation, higher focus and improved athletic performance. Whether it’s in team sports such as rugby or football, individual sports like tennis and athletics or endurance events, here is why more teams and athletes are making it a key practice in their training regime.

 

Increase core strength

When you start focusing on your core, you will realise that all your muscles are connected. For example, have you tried doing lunges without your abdominals? With a stronger core, the remainder of your workouts will begin to improve. More specifically, deep core strength in the abdominal muscles directly leads to improving the length and flexibility of the hamstring muscles which is vital for increasing speed. Core strength is one of the key benefits of all Pilates programs, enabling athletes to channel and make the most of their power.

 

Better flexibility

Pilates allows you to strengthen while you lengthen. In one Brazilian study, when young women (without any prior Pilates experience) performed 20 Pilates sessions, they became 19 percent more flexible. When you’re tight, you shorten your muscle and limit your body’s range of motion which is needed especially in professional sports.

 

More explosive power

The spring resistance of the Pilates’ reformer and jump board create a great environment for plyometric training. Athletes can learn to rebound and explode with control which is very good in sports such as basketball and netball.  One key to explosive power is the concept of triple extension (the coordinated extension of the ankle, knee and hip). Effective triple extension requires strength, range of motion and timing – all of which can be taught using the reformer in a Pilates class.

 

It hones your focus

Pilates urges you to focus on your breath, your body, and how they move together. It takes a lot of concentration and doesn’t allow you to zone out. That means you’re forced to forget about work, family, kids, partners, and other drama for the duration of the class. A great skill to have in any competitive or solo sport, or in any line of work for that matter.

 

If you’re an athlete who loves Pilates or hasn’t tried it yet, come visit us at the studio or try one of our introductory passes. Even better? Sign up for our next 6-week challenge.

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