Sweet Potato, Quinoa & Feta Salad

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A tasty and filling winter salad…

◊ Make as a light supper then get a couple of lunches out of it the following days.

◊ A high fibre, nutrient dense salad powered with plant protein & iron.

◊ Rocket leaves and apple cider vinegar enhance digestion whilst quinoa, onion & seeds are prebiotic which means they support your gut health.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • ½ tsp paprika (optional)
  • 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 + ¾ cups vegetable stock
  • 4 fistfuls rocket leaves
  • 100g feta cheese, cut into cubes
  • 2tbsp. red/pink onion – very finely diced
  • 2tbsp. toasted seed mix (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower seeds)
  • 1 tbsp. dried cranberries

 Dressing (whisk to together in a cup)

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Method

  • Set oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into bit sized cubes.
  • Toss with the olive oil & paprika and spread out evenly on a baking tray. Roast in the oven for approx. 20-25 mins, tossing half way through. Remove from oven when tender and caramelized and allow to cool.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, rinse the quinoa under cold water in a sieve then add to a pot of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil then simmer uncovered for approx. 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, cover pot with a lid then allow to sit for another 5 mins. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.
  • Add the quinoa to a large salad bowl, stir in the finely chopped onion followed by the sweet potato. Pour the dressing over and mix to combine. *Throw in the rocket and toss the ingredients together with your hands. Top with cubes of feta and sprinkle with the seeds mix and dried cranberries.

Notes: This salad can be served warm or cold and keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days. *If you plan to get a few days out of this salad, then you could add fresh rocket to each serving as you go instead of mixing it in from the start.

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Elsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and author of bestselling book ‘Goodbye Sugar’. She works as a nutrition consultant in a Dublin practice and also internationally via her online nutrition programs. She specialise’s in motivational weight management combining effective nutrition & mind-set strategies. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie

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Seven Super Solutions for Surviving the Seasonal Break!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…unless you’ve got the sniffles and a raging headache! The holiday season is often a time filled with festivities and family reunions, but easily avoidable ailments can definitely put a damper on the mood. So like a certain sleigh riding saint on Christmas Eve, I’m bringing you seven cabinet must-haves that’ll be sure to help keep your spirits high and your bodies ailment-free.

Starting things off, I’d recommend Panadol Advance® for any mild aches, pains, and fevers you may experience during the festive season. It contains Paracetamol, a tried and tested drug sure to stave off all of those unwanted headaches. If it doesn’t quite do the trick, the next step up would be Nurofen Tablets®, which are slightly stronger than your typical Panadol tablet since they contain a pain and fever drug called ibuprofen. As with any medication, be sure to have a chat with your pharmacist first, since they can help towards figuring out what’s best for you.

Next up is Sudafed Blocked Nose Spray®, which as the name suggests, is for blocked noses. It contains a drug called Xylometazoline, which squeezes over-expanded blood vessels to open up your airways. One spray two to three times daily of this sinus saver should alleviate those pesky nose blockages that like to rear their heads every holiday season.

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Another cabinet must-have I would go for are Strepsils Honey and Lemon Lozenges®, which contain a dynamic duo of antiseptics to help tackle those irksome infections in your throat. They should also in turn help alleviate the sore throats that tend to come along with those infections. They taste pretty nice too! If they don’t hit the mark for you though, Difflam Spray® acts as a step up that you can spray directly onto the back of your throat, and also contains an antiseptic to help you fight off that infection.

Moving onto supplements now, Vitamin C is the one I want to highlight in particular. This vitamin is constantly mentioned in health blogs all over the net, and with good reason too! Not only does it it protect you from cardiovascular disease and is an integral part of wound healing and other bodily functions, but it also helps strengthen the immune system, which is essential when trying to avoid those ubiquitous not-so-festive colds. Vitamin C is available in LloydsPharmacy as Kelkin Vitamin C Tablets ®, but we would definitely recommend our Revive Active® line of products which contain a whole host of beneficial vitamins and minerals to get you through the holiday period, including Vitamin C!

So there you have it, our Seven Super Solutions for Surviving the Seasonal Break! As always, if the above cabinet-essentials don’t work for you, or your symptoms become more serious at any stage, we would recommend you speak with your Pharmacist or local GP for further advice on how to proceed.

 

Brought to you by Brian Dela Musoke, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy.

Tips to Combat the Christmas Bloat

“Sure go on, it’s Christmas…” is probably the most frequently used “get out of jail free” card over the festive season.

However, finding it hard to say no can have its consequences, particularly on the digestive system with bloating and indigestion being common occurrences over Christmas.

Bloating is caused by an excess gas production and/or disturbances in the movement of digestive muscles after eating- leading to that swollen, uncomfortable and often painful feeling. Bloating is particularly prevalent over “silly season” as people tend to over-indulge more than usual – especially with foods high in sugar and fat. It is important to remember that often our eyes are bigger than our bellies, but that we also shouldn’t feel guilty about eating foods that we enjoy either; everything in moderation as they say!

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The top tips that I would recommend to reduce bloating are:

  1. To avoid eating large volumes in one sitting – eating little and often can avoid the “stuffed” feeling and allows you to control portions better.
  2. Drink plenty of water- this prevents water retention in the body and also prevents constipation. This is especially beneficial over Christmas, as alcohol can increase the rate of water retention!
  3. Remember to ensure your fibre intake is still sufficient around this period too, as this also helps to prevent bloating and constipation.
  4. Limit “trigger foods” as much as possible, for some people these can be: onions, garlic, broccoli or dairy products.
  5. I would always recommend peppermint tea for bloating as it naturally alleviates cramping and gas while also promoting digestion.
  6. A hot water bottle is also a good idea to ease the discomfort of bloating. The heat can soothe the tummy and help relieve the build up of gas.
  7. Exercise can also help banish the bloat, even if it’s a quick walk to get you up and about!
  8. If you are in need of any medicinal remedies, I would always recommend Gaviscon® Advance or Nexium® for indigestion/heart burn and Senocalm/ Rennie® Deflatine to reduce bloating and cramping. However, it is important that you speak to a member of your local LloydsPharmacy team so they can cater their expert advice to you.

Remember, if you are suffering from stomach upset long term or are experiencing other unusual symptoms such as blood in your stools it is essential that you speak to your GP.

Brought to you by Sarah Morris, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy

 

Cold & Flu Tips for little ones

Children are often the hardest hit when it comes to cold and flu during winter due to their small bodies still being new to the concept of fighting infection. Being in close proximity to other small children in crèches or schools means bugs and other “nasties” can be spread a lot easier. Their runny noses and watery eyes are a sure sign they’re in need of some TLC, so what can you do to help your little ones should they fall under the weather this winter?

As with adults, provided the symptoms aren’t too severe, self-care tips should always be the first port-of-call. I’m fully aware of how difficult it can be to find a suitable option for children, as often they’re very limited to what they can take and perhaps are quite fussy with what they will take too. Some of the best care tips that I would always recommend to parents are:

  • Put some vapour rub on a towel/tissue and leave near their bedside– don’t apply directly to the skin. (Snuffle Babe ® is suitable for infants 3 months+).
  • Saline based nasal drops can work very well for decongestion, some brands have a product that can be used from birth e.g. Calpol ®.
  • Another Calpol® product that I would recommend for infants (3 months+) is the “Vapour Plug and Nightlight”. This provides a soothing, calming environment, which can aid a child’s breathing and sleep.
  • A warm bath can ease breathing.
  • Ensure the child remains hydrated.
  • Wash hands regularly.
  • Remember to avoid honey in babies <1, and aspirin in children <16 years.
  • All products listed are available through the LloydsPharmacy website, or in store (subject to availability).
  • If the child is wheezing/short of breath or has middle ear pain or has a sore throat with fever or if the symptoms haven’t improved within 3 days, it is advisable that you attend your GP for a diagnosis.

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To reduce the chances of your little ones coming down with something this winter I would always recommend supplements for both toddlers and older children. They are readily available, affordable and often come in appealing jelly forms for kids. At LloydsPharmacy, some of the products we stock are: Junior Revive Active, Centrum for Kids, Nature’s Way- Alive! Children’s Chewable Multivitamins.

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Brought to you by Sarah Morris, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy

 

Top Tips to keep you well this Winter

The cool, crisp mornings and dark, bleak evenings are most certainly back and I’m not sure about you but they often make me wish I could hibernate until spring… I think we can all appreciate that the transition from summer to winter isn’t the easiest, so what can or should we do to help ourselves to combat these winter blues?

Firstly, I personally believe supplements are an easily accessible and affordable way to promote a healthy immune system this winter. Those containing C, B and D vitamins, Omega-3, zinc and iron are your best bet help maintain energy levels and fight infection this winter. Some of the beneficial products that LloydsPharmacy stock are: Revive Active, Cellnutrition Quinton Isotonic, Active Iron, MorEPA Smart Fats and Kelkin Effervescent Zinc & Vitamin C.

As always, a balanced diet should be promoted to provide a range of nutrients to help battle the winter period. Eating plenty of orange and dark green fruit & vegetables can provide powerful anti-oxidants as well as iron. Adding onions, garlic and ginger can improve immune function, which can be particularly beneficial during winter months. There’s nothing quite like some hearty soup on a cold day, so why not blitz some of the above together to create your own winter busting broth?

I’m a firm believer that the power of exercise should never be neglected during winter; even if the weather is declining and evenings are getting shorter. Did you know that Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that is said to affect 1 in 15 people between September to April? Staying active is beneficial for your mood and wellbeing during this bleak period, even if it’s just a quick 15 minute walk, so pop your earphones in and get moving!

There are many other steps that we can take to stay fit and well this winter that may seem small but can have a huge impact, such as: availing of the flu vaccine (speak to your local LloydsPharmacist to see if you’re eligible for a free vaccination), washing your hands regularly, keeping warm and getting sufficient amount of sleep. Moral of the story- be kind to yourself!

So what happens if a dreaded cold or flu does strike you or a family member this winter? Provided your symptoms aren’t too severe, self-care should always be your first port-of-call to get back on the mend. Some of the best tips I’d always recommend are:

  • Take painkillers for fever/aches (speak with a member of your local LloydsPharmacy team to choose the right product for you)
  • Stay hydrated
  • Warm drinks can often be more soothing
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Ensure you have a comfortable room temp. but it’s best to allow fresh air to circulate
  • Wash hands often
  • Avoid smoking
  • If you prefer a natural approach, Echinacea can be a good option to help fight symptoms. At LloydsPharmacy we stock the A.Vogel range such as the EchinaForce ® tablets and hot drink.

Brought to you by Sarah Morris, 4th year pharmacy intern at LloydsPharmacy.

Sexual Health for St. Patrick’s weekend

With St. Patrick’s weekend around the corner, we think it is important for all of us to remember that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can present no visible symptoms, meaning that you may have an STI without even knowing it. Untreated STIs can lead to serious health issues that many of us are not aware of. For example, untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, tubal or ectopic pregnancy and cervical cancer.

Ireland’s STI detection rate has drastically increased by 14% over the years, with chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, syphilis and HIV all on the increase. Therefore, it is incredibly important we are all proactive in managing our sexual health, so with the upcoming celebrations, we’ve detailed the long-term affects of the four most common STIs in Ireland.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

These are the two most common STIs in Ireland and often appear together in infected individuals. Both men and women are affected with similar symptoms of discharge from the vagina or penis, burning and itching when urinating and in women, pelvic pain. However, this is common infection that can be effectively treated. If the infection remains undetected and untreated, long term consequences such as ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility can occur.

Herpes Simplex I and II

Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), there are two distinct subtypes of HSV, HSV-1 and HSV-2. In the past, HSV-1 was associated with oral herpes (cold sores) and HSV-2 was associated with genital herpes; we now know that you can be infected by either in both locations. After the initial infection, HSV can remain dormant in certain nerve cells of the affected area of the body for life, which can reactivate and cause common outbreaks on along your mouth and genital area.

How to Get Tested?

If you are worried and want to get tested, visit your local LloydsPharmacy or LloydsPharmacy.ie, and select the appropriate LetsGetChecked at-home STI test. LetsGetChecked will provide you with the means to test yourself from the comfort of home and our medical team will provide you with guidance and support. There are three different tests to choose from:

  • Simple 2: Tests for chlamydia and gonorrhoea
  • Standard 6: Tests for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and Hepatitis C
  • Complete 12: Tests for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, herpes simplex 1, herpes simplex 2, gardnerella, mycoplasma, trichomonas & ureaplasma

How Does LetsGetChecked Work?

After you have purchased your test from LloydsPharmacy, you will take your samples from the comfort of home and return them directly to our accredited laboratory partner by prepaid envelope. The customer receives their results online within 2-3 working days of the sample reaching the laboratory.

In the event your results are positive or outside the normal range, our expert nursing support team will guide you through your personalised treatment program.

 

‘Change Your Health Direction’ Aftercare

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Lorraine (CYHD Health Coach) & Rebecca (Supervising Pharmacist)

Congratulations to you all on completing our 8 week Change Your Health Direction Programme. It’s the end of the 8 weeks, but really it’s just the beginning of a new health direction for you all to follow right through the years ahead.

YOU are the ones who can make the most impact on being a healthier you, one meal at a time, one snack at a time, one workout at a time, one day at a time. It’s the start that stops most people and all of you have already leaped over that hurdle! Even losing a small amount of weight has health benefits.

The key to your success going forward will be that good old scout’s motto, “Be Prepared”. Take time to plan your meals in advance. This will help you to introduce variety, eat more nutritious, home-cooked food and rely less on convenience and processed foods, the bonus is that it will probably also save you money!! Win win!!

Prepare meals using mostly fresh ingredients and choose foods like fruits, veg (eg carrot sticks, celery, cucumber sticks) or a portion of unsalted nuts as snacks. Don’t forget the old recommendation to eat 5 portions of fruit or veg a day has now been changed to 8-10 portions per day so try to include fruit, veg or salad in every meal. Remember size matters, use the food pyramid as a guide for serving sizes. Learn to recognise hunger. If you’re not really hungry at meal times, just eat small portions.

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Use healthier cooking methods. Boil, steam, dry-roast, grill, poach, stir-fry or bake food instead of frying it. Our Optima raw virgin coconut oil is a fantastic alternative to butter or cooking oil. Cut visible fat off meat and drain fat off meat and sauces when they’re cooked. Choose tomato-based sauces instead of creamy sauces. Home made soups are a great comfort food, freeze portions of it to have at short notice when needed. Base your meals on having plenty of vegetables and salad – covering half your plate every time.

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You should aim to have a variety of colours on your plate at mealtimes and limit chips and takeaway foods as much as possible. Don’t forget the recipes we’ve suggested to you over the last two months are always available online on our blog.

To be healthy it’s not only about our food intake, you need regular physical activity also. It can be hard to motivate yourself so join a walking group, a neighbour, an exercise class, where you can encourage each other. Choose an activity, sport or exercise routine that you enjoy, this way you’ll be much more likely to stick to it. Remember to drink plenty of water, at least eight cups of water a day. Build your exercise level up gradually, ideally to 60 to 75 minutes of physical activity on 5 days a week but remember always ANY  exercise is better than no exercise. You should try to aim for moderate intensity exercise which causes your heart to beat faster and brings a little sweat to your brow. You should be a little out of breath but still able to talk.

For those of you who have quit smoking don’t forget the benefits:

  • Within 20 minutes of quitting your blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.
  • One day later your risk of heart attack starts to fall.
  • By day two your taste and smell improves.
  • On day three breathing is easier and energy levels increase.
  • Over the next three months your lung function increases, your circulation improves and risk of heart attack and stroke reduces.
  • After one year your risk of heart attack is cut to half that of a smoker.
  • Within 15 years, you will have about the same risk of heart attack and stroke as that of a non-smoker.
  • And not forgetting you’ll have saved yourself a huge amount of money too!

We run the 8-week programme twice every year for anyone who wishes to participate, whether you’ve done it before or are a new face to us. Don’t be afraid to pop in to us in between each programme if you feel you need some motivation or have fallen off the bandwagon or even if you just want us to measure your BMI or have your blood pressure taken.

Wake up with determination because every day is a fresh start. It’s never too early or too late to work towards being the healthiest and best version of you.