September 12, 2014

London: Visitor's Guide to Healthy Food & Fitness

Guest Post by Helen Foster

So this is the last of the great guest posts for a while--I'm heading home from Budapest tomorrow. And I'm looking forward to boring the snot out of you all with tales and pictures, many of which deal with the very same theme: trying to find healthy food and exercise options while traveling.

London was not on my itinerary this trip, alas, but it is an amazing and wonderful city and a popular travel destination. It's a hell of a lot more likely you're going there someday than Budapest, right?  So Helen's got you covered with some great tips!  And there are many more over at her informative and hilarious website, Health-e-Helen, because she's British and lives and breathes this health and fitness stuff.

If her name sounds familiar, it's because I wrote about her awesome (and cheap) fitness ebook Gymspiration a while back, in a post about a one-question personality test which I stole from her. Plus she's on the blogroll, and I'm hoping some of you remember to click over sometimes when her posts come up.

Anyway, I've been having a grand old time, and I will eventually have lots to share about that when I get back to blogging. Whether that's a promise or a threat is an open question.

So please welcome Helen!--Crabby

When I found out Crabby was needing guest posts I was jumping up and down waving my hand in the air faster than you can say ‘yay, I get to write for my blog idol’. Of course then the doubt set in – what can I write about? What do I know more about than Crabby? What have I done? Can I feign amnesia?........then Crabby gave me the answer herself.

I’m British and on my blog health-e-helen I’d written about a delivery service in London offering low-carb, broccoli bread pizza and Crabby was coveting a slice. The word visit was mentioned. Aha, I thought – if Crabby wants to come to London and eat low-carb pizza so might Crabby’s readers! And they might want to do other healthy stuff too while they’re here. And that I know about. See no longer is London a wasteland for the fit and healthy. Yes, we all still drink like fishes and have slightly wonky teeth but we’re catching up when it comes to the healthy stuff. So , here we have it, The Health-e Guide To Healthy London.

My Fave Exercise Class:

The US has SoulCycle – we have Psycle. Located in a swish cycling gym just behind London’s Oxford Street it’s the best thing that’s happened to butts and brains in a long time. It has funky music and flashing lights and a USP that sees you timing your pedalling to the beat.

It’s seriously good fun. Everyone leaves smiling and you’ll even see British people clapping and whooping. You don’t have to be a member, just sign up online. Schedules for the week book from Sunday.

My Fave Juice Bar:

It’s taken a while but you can’t chuck a bunch of kale around Central London right now without finding someone who wants to cold press it. First out of the box though was Roots and Bulbs in swanky Marylebone. With juices created with the advice of top nutritionist Ian Marber they grade them by veggieness – 3 starts more fruity, 1 is more hardcore veg. If you’re used to your juice go for a C1 – carrot, ginger and spice.

My Recommended Must Do:

It’s called Morning Glory. It takes place very early in the morning before Londoners go to work. Suddenly it’s become totally normal to dance to Billy Joel remixes wearing a fairy wings or a tiger onesie at 6am completely sober. If you’re here when one is on go dance your socks off – but you have to book in advance, they sell out.

My Useful Tip for Gym-Goers: If you want to stay fit and but your hotel doesn’t have a gym – sign up for PayAsUGym. They’ll sell you a one off voucher you can use at a gym near where you’re staying. They costs as little as £9.00 a session in Central London.

My Favourite Run: This one was a toss up – I love running along the river and St Katherine’s Dock you’ll see almost every London landmark if you do, but you have to pick your time as it can get busy round there.

So instead, I’m going to choose the lap of the Outer Circle round Regents Park. Why? Because it runs past London Zoo and every so often you’ll get a glimpse of a giraffe. It also goes past one of London’s few outdoor running tracks if you fancy a few timed laps.

photo: geograph

Most of it is a road route, but if you want some greenery, detour into the park for a while and play spot the squirrel. It’s safe in there and easy to find your way back to the Outer Circle.

My Fave Healthy Lunch:

No contest , although it’s not very British. It’s a chain of Vietnamese restaurants called Pho – and a bowl of their steaming hot Pho Tam prawn soup contains just 307 calories and will leave you full for the entire day. Find the branch nearest you at  the Pho Cafe website – all their nutritional information is also on that site. If the word ‘noodle’ has you panicked, also check out Itsu – a great sushi chain which does a heap of low-carb offerings.

And finally...

Where to get Broccoli Pizza:

This one might be a bit trickier to get as you will need it delivered somewhere, but it’s by a company called Plan Bread who also make low-carb sandwiches from a broccoli based bread. If you go onto the Plan Bread website, you can order it online to be delivered anywhere in Central London. Make sure you get a slice for Crabby though won’t you.


  1. I haven't been on a plane since 1994, and I don't want to get on one until the humans packed into them stop wearing things I'm acutely allergic to, but you make me want to go back to London some day.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  2. Thanks, Helen! Now all I have to do is remember where to find this when we head to London next summer!

  3. This one is going in the bucket list folder. :D

  4. I am intrigued by this broccoli pizza (not that I need an excuse to go to London, just the free time). Thank you for the post, Helen! It was a fun and informative read. Now I want to go to London even more than I already did. :-)

  5. My!! that broccoli pizza is sumptuous! and the Psycle class sounds fun though I'm already clung to this program I got from , can't afford to be in those classes with my crazy sched.

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  7. I like the idea of the cycling class that I can get a spot in even if I'm not a regular. So often you arrive at the hotel and run down to the fitness center and find a small office full of a few cheap machines that look like they have never been used and for good reason.

  8. Those fitness classes sound like so much fun - now I just need to plan a trip to London!!

  9. When i get back to London someday, that broccoli pizza has my name on it!

  10. When I get back to London, that Pho menu has my name all over it. Yes, the whole thing! A fish and chips pub lunch is a good thing. . . once.

  11. Wow, I wish my followers commented as much as Crabby's do, They're a generally silent bunch (probably too busy eating juice and pizza). Thanks all glad you liked it.

  12. Definitely looks like there are some fun fitness ideas if I ever go to London! Thanks for the guest post, Helen!

  13. Have to admit, jogging the same course over and over gets so old. Maybe now I can justify that trip to England I've been bugging the husband for ;)

  14. England! I have to admit, when I went to London I never got to experience any of these things. Time for another trip overseas! It's always nice to see something written by someone who lives there and isn't trying to simply take all our tourist cash :)

    1. That broccoli pizza look so so GOOOOD! Thanks for the great post.

      Another tip to eat healthy in london :
      Borough Market (London Bridge)

      Beneath the railway viaducts between the Thames and Borough High Street in southeast London, Borough Market is a haven for quality food and exciting produce. If you want something hale and hearty for lunch, try The Veggie Table – they offer veggie and vegan burgers (either in a bun or wrapped in a cabbage leaf, or made from sweet potato for the gluten-free). The organic superveg burger is made with quinoa, nuts, sultanas and vegetables, or try the Heavenly Haloumi burger with caramelised onions for something different. SO GOOD!

      And If you get a chance to get out of London, take the train to Eastbourne, Sussex. It's just about an hour's trip away and is lush with beautiful scenery. You'll find a huge selection of places for afternoon tea, waterfront restaurants on the ocean with fresh seafood ,and endless manicured beds of flowers everywhere you go. Small family farms offer their fresh produce and make it easy to find a healthy meal.

  15. Great idea! I really like your healthy diet plan and all the related information that you have shared. Thanks for sharing such good post.


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