‘Opt In’ October

Most of us spend our time opting out of junk mail, unwanted emails and subscriptions that we haven’t used in months. It feels like we spend more time getting out of the things we don’t want to do, or the companies we don’t want to hear from.

So we’ve launched ‘Opt In October’. A month dedicated to making the choice to do something, or be part of something new! When you choose to do something, you are much more likely to achieve it.

Throughout ‘Opt In October’ what you do is up to you. Set yourself a new challenge, do something you’ve put off for the past nine months, or simply try out that new group or activity that you’ve made excuses not to attend for longer than you can remember, its your choice.

So grab hold of October and give it ago, you never know what you might achieve when you choose to give it a go!


‘No Sugar’ November

This month’s Wellbeing Challenge aims to reduce the amount of sugar we consume.

The consumption of too much sugar has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, tooth decay and many more health conditions. With changes in food production and product labelling it is now easier than ever to control the amount of sugar you consume, and in turn reduce the risks of developing any health complications.


Did you know, in Britain, each person eats approximately 140 teaspoons of sugar every week!


Therefore, we’ve dedicated November to helping you find out how much sugar you consume, and how you can reduce this to improve your health.


We’re joining forces with Matthew’s Friends, a charity specialising in ketogenic dietary therapies for children and adults with drug-resistant epilepsy, who are also going Sugar Free for November, to raise awareness of Ketogenic Therapy.

If you wish to, you can support them by fundraising along the way – look out for the Mini Challenges and take a look at their website:




Mini Challenge One – How much sugar are you consuming each week?

For the first challenge, work out how much sugar you consume in an average week. To do this, simply write out a weekly food menu and add up the total amount of sugar in each portion, don’t forget to add drinks too!

To find out the sugar content, look at the labels on the food…but remember, there are many different words for sugar!



Mini Challenge Two – Save and Donate!

To make a start with reducing your sugar, why not take the challenge and support Matthews Friends by not buying any sugary drinks, crisps, biscuits, cakes, sweets, chocolate or alcohol for the week. Keep track of the money you save too as it adds in to your savings, or ask friends and family to sponsor you and donate to Matthews Friends, it’s up to you!



Mini Challenge Three – Sugar swaps

Now that you know what foods contain the most sugar, and have suffered through an entire week without them, why not explore what alternatives are available to all those sugary snacks? By using alternatives, you can make simple changes to your diet which are much healthier, without the need to change the tastes you like and crave. Lots of foods and drinks now have sugar free or low sugar options, so look out for these when shopping. Making small changes will make a big difference.



Mini Challenge Four – Bake and Donate!

What better way to celebrate a month of being sugar free than a good old fashioned bake sale, but with one important difference, SUGAR FREE CAKES!

Check out the recipes on the Matthew’s Friends website for some inspiration, and whilst you’re at it, why not support them by raising money, and awareness, of epilepsy and ketogenic therapy.

No Junk June

Most people are now aware that food containing high quantities of saturated fat and sugar is not healthy; contributing to a host of serious conditions from diabetes to cancer. Here are some of the less known harmful effects that the overeating of junk can have:

  • Sadness. The lack of essential nutrients contained in junk food can affect your hormone balance which can affect mood. It is especially important for people at hormone sensitive life stages like puberty and menopause to have a balanced diet.
  • Brain function– studies on animals have shown that trans-fats contained in junk food can interfere with brain signals and the ability to learn new skills.
  • Digestion – Oil from deep fried food deposited in the stomach causes acidity and irritation. The lack of fibre in junk food also hinders digestion.
  • It can make you tired – Non-nutritious food is often low in protein and complex carbohydrates which affect blood sugar levels causing energy crashes.

Ready-Made meals and fast food is marketed as a quick and easy option so we can forget just how simple, fresh food can be to prepare.

Which is why we have made June’s Wellbeing Challenge – ‘No Junk June’?  The aim is to reduce the amount of junk food we all eat.

No Junk June includes four mini-challenges throughout the month:

Mini Challenge One –

Replace a takeaway with a home cooked meal

We will be encouraging people in our services to replace a takeaway usually ordered with a home-cooked meal.

Mini Challenge Two –

See how much you spend on junk food

We will be supporting Service Users to calculate how much money they could save by cutting out junk food.

Mini Challenge Three –

Learn a ‘Fakeaway’ recipe

‘Fakeaways’ are a great way of eating a healthier version of a takeaway. We will be providing recipes and support to try making a ‘Fakeaway’.

Mini Challenge Four –

Plan a meal with a friend and share ideas

We will be encouraging social interaction with joint sessions sharing ideas and planning meals together.

Cutting out Junk in June is healthier, it costs less and tastes better so why don’t you take up the challenge too, and see what you can create?