I was really shocked to read that according to Public Health England, over 6.3 million adults in England aged 40 to 60 don’t achieve 10 minutes of continuous brisk walking over the course of a month. That’s four in 10 people, or 41% of the adult population who don’t manage that in a month. The fact that we now live more sedentary lives than we used to can make it difficult for many people to find the time for enough exercise, but it is so important for our health. In fact physical inactivity is thought to contribute to 1 in 6 deaths in the UK and costs the NHS ~£1 billion per year.
Increasing the amount of walking we do doesn’t necessarily mean going out for massive hikes in the countryside, although that would be great! Building brisk walks into our normal day is the key – walking to the shop, going for a walk at lunchtime, getting off the bus a stop early etc. These are relatively easy things to do and can really benefit us – taking at least one brisk 10 minute walk a day reduces the risk of early death by 15% and leads to health benefits including a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes (by 40%), cardiovascular disease (by 35%), dementia (by 30%) and some cancers (by 20%).
The free ‘Active 10’ app has been developed to show how much brisk walking you are doing each day and how to incorporate more of it into your life. Surely worth a try? You just need to search ‘Active 10’ to download it. The app has been endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners and is being recommended by GPs across the country.
Tim Tiedemann, Chad Madden, Amir Hamdi on Unsplash
Back in the garden we are in the middle of a blackberry glut and they seem particularly sweet this year. At this time of year I am constantly covered in scratches on any exposed bit of skin as a result of trying to reach the best looking berries (why are the really juicy ones always so difficult to reach?). I saw a recipe for a Blackberry Galette in a Waitrose magazine which looked really easy to make. The original recipe had sugar in the pastry and with the fruit but since our fruit is so sweet I didn’t add any. Mr McGregor thought it needed some ice-cream with it, but I think it’s fine without. You could add a little sugar or maybe maple syrup if you wanted. Although we have a very productive blackberry bramble in the garden, there are loads of them in the parks round us that can be picked for free – so go foraging (and walk briskly there perhaps?).
Blackberry galette (pdf Blackberry galette)
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 beaten egg for glazing
75g ground almonds
150g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
110g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- Whizz the almonds, flour and cinnamon in a blender until mixed. Then add the butter and pulse till mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add 2 tablespoons cold water and mix till pastry comes together in a ball. Put onto a floured board and press into a disk. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for an hour.
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees and put a flat baking tray in the oven to heat up.
- Mix the blackberries with the cornflour, vanilla bean paste and lemon juice.
- Roll the pastry out between 2 sheets of baking parchment (this is a revelation to me – makes rolling pastry so easy). Roll till you have a 30cm circle ~0.3cm thick.
- Lift off the top sheet of parchment and pile the blackberries into the centre of the pastry, leaving a 5cm border. Bring the pastry edges in around the fruit, leaving a gap in the middle.
- Brush the pastry rim with the beaten egg. Slide the galette, on its parchment, onto the hot baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes.
OK, it looks quite home-made, but I liked it!