Getting in shape for the Summer!

With the Summer fast approaching, well in terms of seasons rather than the weather, it’s that time we all think about our weight and fitting into Summer clothes.  With an opportunity to lose a few pounds before hitting the beach this year I’m keen to see what foods are around to help me out.  I’m tending to have just a salad for lunch at the moment but sometimes if I’m tired the night before and don’t end up making one for work the next morning, I need something quick that I can grab and chuck in my handbag ready for lunch.

This is where Forza Stir it Slim meal replacement drinks come in handy.  A new range of slimming drinks to rival large competitors currently on the market, Forza comes with two big advantages.  To make each drink you simply stir into water, no need to shake and no need to add milk. Another big difference is that not only do they offer cold shakes but they do hot drinks as meal replacements rather than just milkshakes.

Forza

With Latte, Caramel Latte and Hot Chocolate available, I knew Hot Chocolate would be the one for me, so I gave it a try. Ideal either in the morning for breakfast or lunchtime, this is quick and simple to make and only 204 calories, but contains all the vitamins, minerals and fibre needed so you are not losing out.

So the all important, what did it actually taste like?

Well emptying the sachet into a mug, I was quite surprised and the volume of powder, but then again I guess you need that if it is replacing a light meal.  I did wonder how well it would stir in, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised and it mixed with ease and quickly, producing a rich, creamy looking hot chocolate drink.

Then it came to taste and I can honestly say that it tasted just like a thick, rich hot chocolate drink.  I really enjoyed it and have to say, I didn’t feel at all hungry afterwards and happily went through until my next meal/snacktime.

These are definitely worth a try, so easy to use and taste great!

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Nothing But. are a range of freeze dried snacks, in fact they are literally just freeze dried fruit and vegetables in individual snack packs, obviously in combinations deemed palatable.  With a ridiculously low calories per pack, just 36 cals for the Sliced Beetroot & Parsnip, 40 cals for the Pineapple & Grape and 34 cals for the Strawberry & Banana, these are the ideal healthy snack, not forgetting the biggest bonus of all – each pack contains one of your five a day!

Nothng butPersonally I prefer the vegetable combinations of these, although my friend loves the Pineapple and Grape variety.  They are not the most filling of snacks but if you are healthy eating then these are a great addition to give keep you going through the day, whilst also giving you some of your daily nutrients.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

Slimfast New Starter Box and Noodles – Review

Slimfast is one weightloss plan I go back to again and again because for me it works.  I like knowing what I am going to be eating during the day, I enjoy the shakes and I like the ready packed snacks which are easy to grab on the go.

Slimfast have just relaunched their products along with a new image and some great new products which I am going to share with you and let you know what I think.

Slimfast 1

Above you can see the newly launched 7 day starter box, a fabulous introduction into the world of Slimfast that comes with enough snacks and meal replacement products to last you a week along with recipe ideas for your evening meals.  For anyone that hasn’t tried Slimfast before this is a great way to get introduced to the various products on offer and taste a variety of flavours.  Included are a selection of ready made shakes, meal replacement bars and snacks, including crisp type snacks and chocolate bars.

Personally I love the savoury snack bags of Sour Cream and Chive Pretzels or Cheddar Cheese Bites, they are just what you need mid morning to keep you going and replace a high calorie bag of crisps that I’d usually grab!

The 3.2.1. plan allows you to have three snacks a day, two meal replacements (either a shake or meal bar) and one healthy evening meal.

 

A new product to the Slimfast range are noodle boxes!  The amazing thing about these noodle snack boxes are that all the flavours contain less than 100 calories with the Spicy Thai flavour containing just 70 calories.  These can be replaced instead of any snack and are a great alternative if you are looking forward to a savoury snack.  They come in three flavours, Chicken Tikka Masala (81 cals), Spaghetti Bolognase (76 cals) and Spicy Thai (70 cals) which is a vegetarian one.

They are made with SlimTaki® noodles which are made from konjac, the Asian root vegetable that contains virtually no calories and zero fat and sugar.  So what do they taste like?  I have to say I was very impressed, they come with a thick, rich sauce and smell delicious.  What I would never believe though is that there are just 70 calories in a box, that’s quite amazing and there is not much else you can eat for such a low amount other than a piece of fruit!
slimfast 2

I started the 7 day plan and find it really easy to follow.  For me to stick to a plan I have to know exactly what I’m eating so I get all my snacks and meal replacements out the night before.  You can eat other snacks instead of the ones provided and I often add a piece of fruit or low fat yoghurt into my day.  I also find it important to plan my evening meal and although there are some recipe ideas included in 7 day starter box, I did find that there are many more idea on the Slimfast website.  Knowing what I am eating is half the battle of losing weight for me and being planned helps me keep on track and get the results.

slimfast 3

So for my results:

I lost 6lb in 7 days – yay!!!  I do find that in the first few days of following the plan I lose a lot of water, especially if I’ve not been eating so well in the few weeks before.  I know in future weeks I can only expect to lose around 2lbs per week if I stick to the plan but that’s good for slow steady weightloss that’s maintainable.

I really enjoy the Slimfast plan as it allows me to eat food I like, a lot of the snacks feel like treats and a 600 calorie dinner at the end of the day feels quite generous.  I add plenty of vegetables and it’s easy to fill full after eating a big plateful even though it’s low calorie.

You can hear my thoughts on the Slimfast plan here in this short video:

All reviews are my own and my honest opinions and I received the products in order to write the review.

2 Week SlimFast Challenge – The Results

As you may have seen here a couple of weeks ago, I started out on the SlimFast 321 plan for 2 weeks.  It’s a really easy to follow plan which comprises of 3 snacks a day, 2 meal replacement and 1 600 calorie evening meal.

slimfastSo was it easy to stick to?

Yes!  I was surprised by how well I stuck to this diet which I believe to be a combination of a large healthy dinner along with lots of snacks throughout the day.  I loved keeping one of my 3 snacks for late in the evening when I started feeling peckish especially if I had an early dinner with the children.  Also I think that the snacks are appealing and being similar to crisps and chocolate is always a bonus!

Did I enjoy the taste of the SlimFast snacks and shakes?

I have to say I’m very happy with all of the SlimFast based food that I ate, obviously there are some flavours I prefer over others but for me the chocolate shake is heavenly although I also enjoy vanilla and caramel temptation.  The snacks are all very tasty particularly the Cheddar flavour bites and the Heavenly Chocolate Delight snack bar.  The meal replacement bars were all good.

slimfast 2Did I feel hungry at all?

No!  Quite simply I think due to the amount of daily snacks, I didn’t have to go more than a few hours between eating something.  I know on other diets where you only get one snack a day it can leave you longing for food between meals.  I found the evening meal of 600 calories generous and would often have a meal of 300-400 calories then also add in a yoghurt and fruit for dessert.

slimfast 3

The all important bit – did I lose weight?

Yes!!  A grand total of 8lbs!!!!

I’m so happy with this and it’s really given me a boost to losing more still.  I feel so much better, my eating is much more regulated and my clothes are a little looser.  I feel really inspired to carry on with SlimFast, although have just taken a few days off, enjoying a drop of wine and a pizza!  I’ve already bought some powder shakes for breakfast and just need to get some other bits and I’m ready to go again in a bid to lose some more weight in time for the summer.  Ideally I’d like to drop a couple of dress sizes but I’d rather take it slowly in order to be able to maintain the weight loss after.

slimfast 4

SlimFast has definitely been a success for me and is a diet that suits me, my lifestyle and eating habits.  It also helps that I enjoy the products and having to only prepare one meal a day means it’s easy to stick to and breakfast, lunch and snacks are easy to grab and go – perfect for my busy, hectic lifestyle of work and looking after two young children.

I’d recommend SlimFast and will be using it again now to continue my weight loss and again in the future whenever I want to drop a few lbs!

Why not give it a try and you too can loose some weight before the summer weather finally appears!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and the products were sent to me in order to write the review.

 

Slimfast 321 Diet Plan #SlimFastChallenge

As any of my readers will know I’ve struggled a bit with my weight since having my second child.  I never lost it like I did with my first and found comfort in fresh bread, chocolate and wine!

My youngest is now 4yrs old and it’s time for me to change.  I have a wardrobe full of clothes I can’t wear and limit myself to the same few items that go through the wash, get worn and back in the wash again.  I want the old me back, not that I was ever stick thin, but a healthy size 12-14 would be amazing!

So when Slimfast gave me the opportunity to take part in the 2 week #SlimFastChallenge, how could I refuse?

slimfast

I lost 10lbs or so earlier this year and dropped a dress size but since then have become rather static with my weight loss.  What appeals to me about Slimfast is that the meal and snack replacements are easy to grab on the go, there’s no excuse for not having something with you, or not having made something, or not having the ingredients in the house!

I’ll be following the 3.2.1 plan which involves having 3 snacks a day, 2 meal replacements (breakfast and lunch) and a 600 calorie meal in the evening.  Being rather fond of carbohydrates and of course chocolate, the Slimfast plan snacks and meal replacements really appeal to me, Cheddar Flavour bites, Sour Cream & Chive Pretzels, Rich Chocolate Shake, Caramel Temptation Powder milkshake, Chocolate Crunch meal bar and many more!!!  Sounds like a heavenly diet to me!

Each evening I have to provide my own 600 calorie meal, which I feel is quite generous.  If you’re careful with your choices you can have a very plentiful meal with lots of fresh vegetables on the side.

I’m hoping that by following this plan, it will kickstart my weightloss again and that I get motivated to continue long after the 2 weeks is up, leaving me feeling fit and fabulous for the summer.

You can keep up with my progress under the #SlimFastChallenge hashtag on twitter and there’ll be a follow up post on here at the end of the two weeks.

Wish me luck!!

UPDATE:  Read about my Slimfast results.

All reviews are my own opinions and I received the products in order to write the review.

 

Women’s Health Magazine – Review

Women’s Health magazine from Unique Magazines, is a lifestyle magazine for females covering all aspects of life from diet, nutrition, exercise, beauty, fashion, relationships and more.

magThis months edition features Britney Spears on the front cover who is interviewed and talks about her current fitness regime.  There is also a page of exercises you can follow at home that Britney currently does in the ‘Totally Drenched’ fitness class she regularly attends.

The magazine as a whole is well thought out and does contain lots of reading material.  There are loads of food, nutrition, skincare and relationship tips in a series of pages entitled The Brief which gives you snippets of facts and information across each topic.

There are various other exercise pages you can follow at home which is great for me as I’m currently on a mission to feel fit and fab at 40!  One useful article explores high street food chains and shows you a healthy option to choose against and unhealthy meal choice.  Some of the differences in calories can be quite surprising!

mag 2The article on breakfast pots gives you ten ideas on super healthy and filling breakfast ideas, some not what you’d conventionally expect to see on a breakfast menu, but definitely a great way to start the day and see you through to lunchtime!

I’m quite surprised by both the quantity and variety of articles in this magazine and it has lots of great ideas I can incorporate into my new healthy lifestyle.  There are even some pages on fashion – just what I need to look fit and fab at 40!

Why not check the magazine out yourself, whether you are looking to start a new healthy lifestyle or just want to find out about simple everyday things to look good, feel fit and boost your daily nutritional intake, then this magazine would be perfect for you!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the magazine in order to write the review.

Jane Plan – Healthy Meals Delivered to your door – Review

Jane Plan is a delicious diet plan that is delivered to your door monthly.  Having put on weight and overeating since my youngest was born four years ago, I’ve felt really uncomfortable in myself and have a wardrobe full of clothes I no longer wear.  With my 40th birthday coming up in March this year, I knew I had to change the way I eat (and drink wine!) to start enjoying life to the full again instead of hiding away in leggings and baggy tops, feeling uncomfortable at social occasions and wondering what on earth I’m going to wear on the beach this year for our family summer holiday!

When Jane Plan spoke to me about trying their program, I knew this could be the answer to get me on my way to feeling fit and fab again.  With the food delivered to my door, I couldn’t dish myself up oversize portions and along with working and a busy family life, I wouldn’t have to worry making myself different meals to the rest of the family as it was all taken care of for me.  So I placed my order with Jane Plan and looked forward to the delivery.

Aimed at providing you with around 1200 calories a day, you are sent your choice of 28 breakfasts, 28 lunches, 28 dinners and 28 snacks from the fairly large choice available.  The only thing you need to add is milk or yoghurt to use with breakfast and additional fruit and vegetables to supplement your meals should you choose to.

jane planI chose all my meals based on a vegetarian diet and tended to pick soups and salads for lunchtimes and pasta based meals for dinner.  When the box arrived it seemed like a lot of food, but had to remember that this was to last me for the next 28 days!

Although the meals are long life, they are freshly cooked and packaged using the SousVide method, avoiding any artificial preservatives, colours, or additives.  This is done by steaming the food to a high temperature then sealing each portion whilst still hot, thus preserving it naturally.

jane plan 2The daily snacks included in Jane Plan consist of either a single small round biscuit or three mini oatcakes.  I chose a variety of each in quite a choice of flavours from toasted almond shortbread, to vanilla crunch and fig & hazelnut cookies.  The oatcakes came in plain, cheese or black pepper varieties.  I was slightly concerned when I saw a lot of these biscuits were gluten free as I’ve not found gluten free products to be very palatable before but there is only one thing I can say about every one of the snacks you see in the above picture – Absolutely delicious!!

The biscuits are quite small but they are thicker than your standard biscuit.  Every mouthful tasted rich, buttery and just melted in the mouth.  I couldn’t wait for my daily snack each day as it really was that little bit of something sweet I craved each day.  I did really enjoy the oatcakes too and with three in each pack, it gave me something to nibble on to help beat afternoon cravings.  It’s lucky the snacks are individually wrapped as I don’t think I could have just eaten one otherwise!

janes plan 5I started each morning with a bowl of porridge or Maca’s Secret Muesli which I added natural yoghurt too.  I found all the breakfasts totally satisfying and the perfect way to start the day.  They were all quick to put together too, the porridge (both plain and vanilla) microwave in a couple of minutes with some added water in the bowl you eat out of, so no added washing up!

For lunches I tended to have soup when at home, which came in a pouch that you simply heat up in the microwave.  I usually added a couple of low calorie crispbreads or occasionally a slice of unbuttered bread to help fill me up.

janes plan 4When at work or out of the house I opted for a salad, which came in a small pot that just required a fork to eat with.  I had both a couscous salad and wholegrain salad to choose from and although I enjoyed them both and found them quite pleasant to eat, they both contained red kidney beans and sweetcorn.  I would have preferred them to have been a bit more varied with perhaps something green in them.  There is a three bean salad which I wish I had tried, not sure how I missed it but as I’ve mentioned there is quite a lot of choice available on the Jane Plan menu.

Dinner time was something I eagerly awaited each day whilst following the plan and have to say I found the meals really tasty.  I chose a lot of Mediterranean dishes such as pasta arrabiata, vegetable lasagne and ratatouille.  I have to say my absolute favourite is the pasta Mediterranean which was delicious in a rich tomato sauce with peppers and courgettes (two of my favourite vegetables!).  The lasagne was good too, once I got used to the fact that it had no cheese on it! lol  I have to say cheese was one of the food items I did miss throughout the month.

janes plan 3So how did I find it?

For the first three or four days, there is no denying it was hard!!  My body is used to me grazing all day, then enjoying a couple of glasses of wine in the evening.  I did find the gap from breakfast (7am) until lunch quite hard particularly on work days, but I had some fruit mid morning to see me through.  Likewise going from lunchtime (12pm) through to bedtime which is often 11/12pm with just a small biscuit and a single course of dinner could be tough, but I found my body soon learnt to adjust and the stomach rumbles eased off.  I found cups of green tea with lemon (which I really enjoy) to be a big help between meals to see me through and a bowl of grapes in the evening (rather than the liquid variety) would help me last until bedtime.

I found having the food ready made and portioned to be an enormous help.  I am a working mum with two young children, a husband who works shifts and life is hectic enough.  The portions ensured I kept on track and didn’t leave me open to temptation as I know I would have been had I been preparing my own food.  This is definitely the kickstart I needed and now feel my body is used to eating less food, so I feel more confident continuing myself after finishing on Jane Plan.  Although should you wish to continue they do offer money saving plans if you sign up for longer periods.

And the question you’ve all been waiting for – how much weight did I lose?  12lb

So as you can imagine, I’m thrilled!!  As much as I did stick to the plan, I have to admit to having a couple of glasses of wine one weekend and a couple of other extras sneaking in.  But what I have proved to myself is that I can do it and Jane Plan really helped me achieve a great first month’s weight loss.  I still have a further couple of stone to lose (yes really – fresh bread/cheese/chocolate/wine all have a lot to answer for!) and then I hope to be at my pre childbirth weight and feel fit and fab throughout my forties!

Keep an eye out as I will keep you updated with my progress in the upcoming months.

Win 1 of 5, 12 Week Porridge on Tuesday Healthy Eating Plans

Porridge on Tuesday is not as the name suggests anything to do with porridge, unless you want it to be of course.  It is in fact the name of an exciting healthy eating plan that can help you to lose weight, at a rate that you want or even just maintain a steady weight by following healthy menus.  There are some delicious recipe ideas using everyday foods that are simple and quick to prepare.

pot foodA few months ago, I took the challenge and followed a Porridge on Tuesday plan in a bid to lose a bit of weight.  You can read about my first impressions here and after 4 weeks here.  I lost just over a stone on my journey and discovered that I loved the meal plans on offer, the flexibility to chop and change meals around, discard meals you are not keen on in exchange for others and tailor your weekly food to suit you.  This meant it was more enjoyable to follow and easier to maintain although for me I do find that following a plan like this keeps me motivated and on track.  When you haven’t got somewhere to check in each week it is easy to lose your way.

Hence why Porridge on Tuesday may be for you, a great opportunity to follow a healthy eating plan at the start of 2014 to get over any overeating you may do over the festive period and lose a few extra pounds you may have gained.  Or if you are looking for a little more weight loss, the plan can be tailored to your individual needs.

pot imageIf you’d like to try a plan, I’m pleased to let you know you can get 20% of any plan of your choice from the Porridge on Tuesday shop.  Each plan entitles you to:

  • A full menu plan with breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks
  • Recipes for all meals
  • A Personal Shopping list
  • A suggested Exercise plan
  • Support via a closed Facebook group to help you achieve your goal

Just email info@porridgeontuesday.com for more info.

Even better I have five, 12 week plans to give away, just fill in the form below for a chance to win:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to UK entrants only
Winners will be emailed and will need to reply within 5 days or a new winner will be drawn
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Ozeri 3D Pedometer – Review

Ozeri produce a wide range of household products from kitchenware to fitness gadgets so when I was sent a Ozeri Pedometer to try I knew it’d fit in perfectly with the healthy lifestyle that I’m currently trying to attain.

Ozeri PedometerThe Ozeri pedometer records steps, distance, calories and time and works using your own stride, something you have to programme in at the start along with current date/time/your weight etc.  This helps it to give accurate feedback on your progress throughout your day.

Having only used basic pedometer’s in the past, I could immediately see the benefits of the Ozeri.  One of the biggest bonuses for me was the 3D Tri-Axis motion sensor, meaning that no matter where you have the pedometer or what way up it is, it still manages to accurately record your steps.  It makes it so easy to slip into your pocket and go about day to day life.  Also I love the way that it waits until you have done 13 steps before adding them on, unlike the basic ones that increased steps everytime you jiggle about in your chair.

A feature I like is that it resets itself back to zero at midnight so you can get up the next morning knowing that you are starting a new day, although the great thing is your previous days are stored to give you a 7 day total.

I was a bit shocked the first few days I tried the Ozeri pedometer, in that I was only achieving just over 6000 steps, although to be fair I wasn’t doing any particular walking or exercise on those days.  It has made me more conscious to make an effort to try and achieve over 10,000 steps each day.  I still find this a little hard on the days I work, but it gives me an excuse to get up and take a walk around the office!

Ozeri pedometerThe Ozeri pedometer comes in a nice slim design with easy to press buttons, and being bright yellow means it’s easy to find when you put it down.  Once set up, you can just use it to track your steps each day and a simple press of a button shows you your calories and distance.  Having the time and date on the front was an added bonus and a feature I found useful.

The pedometer comes with an optional attachment to allow you to wear around your neck and also a very handy little screwdriver to open the battery compartment.  There is also a backlight for night viewing which can be useful.

Overall I think the Ozeri is an excellent pedometer, perfect for anyone wanted to keep track of their steps throughout the day.  It works well, gives accurate results, is a compact design and is packed with features allowing you to track your daily movements.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions. We are not paid for reviews although we do receive the product to try out and enable us to write the review.

Porridge on Tuesday – 4 weeks & half a stone down!

I have now reached the first 4 week milestone of my journey following the Porridge on Tuesday online eating plan and I have been by no means perfect.  The odd glasses of wine have snuck in along with an icecream on a sunny day out and sometimes I just needed a something a little bit naughty!  So we had pizza on a family night together.

What I am really pleased to say is that I have lost my first 7lb – yes half a stone!!!  I can’t express how thrilled I am about this after the battles with food I’ve had over the last couple of years.  I’m finally settling into a routine full of healthy meals and snacks that I thoroughly enjoy eating and are simple to prepare.

I love the flexibility of the Porridge on Tuesday meal plans as although it gives me seven different meals each week, I can have the same one on several nights if I want to use up ingredients or simply enjoy the food.  This is great for me as I am often short on time or eating late.  Unfortunately we don’t eat as a family very often as my children are starving by 5 o’clock and I don’t want to fill them up on snacks.  My husband works shifts so is often not there in the evenings and then I don’t end up eating until the children are bathed and in bed.  Although to be honest I kind of prefer eating later otherwise I’d resort to snacking late in the evening.

Snacking is something I’ve always done, sometimes I end up snacking and missing meals so one thing I’ve made myself consciously do is cook something every night.  A quick pasta with pesto and spinach or courgettes is so quick and simple there’s no excuse.  Or a new one I discovered last week was veggie sausages and sweet potato mash – add freshly ground black pepper and you have a delicious bowl of comforting food.

When it comes to snacks, I can still have two a day with Porridge on Tuesday but what I am eating is drastically different from before – no more pre-wrapped biscuits/cereal bars/chocolate bars.  I have discoverd the perfect little snack bags of mixed almonds that contain the 30g suggested portion for a filling snack.  Portion control is something else I have trouble with and having a controlled portion is just what I need.  I also find these perfect to keep in my bag should I get caught out and about anywhere when the hunger pangs start, although I have to say these are become less the healthier I eat.

Houmous has always been a favourite of mine, usually with tortilla chips to dip in alongside a chilled glass of white wine.  When I discovered houmous was on the menu it immediately caught my eye, but instead of tortilla chips, the options are carrot sticks or vegetable sticks.  I am now a complete convert to coming home from work, chopping up a carrot and dipping it in houmous – absolutely delicious!  And it definitely keeps me going through to dinner.  Everytime my children hear me chopping, they run into the kitchen saying “Can I have some?”.  They absoulutely love dipping their carrot sticks in houmous so I have discovered a healthy delicious snack that I wouldn’t have given them before.  And the bizarre thing is that 5yr old Miss M doesn’t like carrots, has always refused to eat them, but now she quite happily chomps away on raw carrot sticks –  a great way to add one of their five a day!

Breakfast is one meal I can’t miss and I’ve always grabbed some cereal or toast.  Now I do still squeeze in a bowl of weetabix before I rush out the door, but on the days I don’t work and can spare a few minutes at home, I have come to love scrabbled eggs on toast.  Before Porridge on Tuesday it is something I would only eat very occasionally but now I’m eating it 4 or 5 times a week.  It’s totally delicious covered in ground black pepper and more importantly it really does fill me up and keep me going. I can honestly say I’ve eaten more eggs in the last four weeks than I have all year!

So as you can see I’m really getting into the spirit of my new healthy eating regime courtesy of Porridge on Tuesday.  It really is inspiring me with tasty dishes to eat, I’m enjoying the menu’s, even if I do chop and change them around.  Though I’m desperate to lose the weight that has crept on, I feel that the biggest motivation for me is writing about it, sharing my journey with you – I would hate to disappoint, let people down and most of all not succeed for myself.  No more years of being unhappy in my clothes, tight waistlines, baggy tops – I want to feel free to wear what I want, not hide away and for my children to grow up seeing a happy, self confident mummy.

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If you want to find out more about Porridge on Tuesday’s healthy eating plans check out their website, or catch up on Facebook for lots of friendly advice and tips.  They offer plans for everyone, be it gluten free, vegan, vegetarian like myself or just a simple healthy eating plan – you can take a look at the plans here.
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