Have you ever thought about how your cycle affects the way you exercise? The highs and lows of hormones means that at certain times in your cycle it’s better to slow things down and do very light, gentle exercise. And at other times in […]
I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions and intentions this week.
January rolls around and a lot of us put pressure on ourselves to build a list of resolutions that are mostly about things we should improve about ourselves. Problems we should resolve about ourselves.
But what if we accepted ourselves as we are?
What if we set intentions instead? Intentions are a common way of starting a yoga session, a positive way of focusing the mind for the practice ahead.
Daily, weekly and monthly intentions are a lovely way to focus on the present and the good things you want to do for yourself.
My intentions for 2018 are to live in the moment and remember all the things I’ve achieved (it’s easy to forget these things, isn’t it?).
What are your intentions for 2018?
Have you heard about alternate nostril breathing? This is an incredible way of shifting your nervous system from fight or flight stress mode to rest and digest, relaxation mode. You’re essentially breathing consciously, taking in more air and reducing your blood pressure. […]
I’ve been talking about shifting mindset away from thinking about ‘surviving’ the holiday season towards enjoying the holiday season. Here are 6 ways to mindfully enjoy the holiday season without throwing all your health and fitness goals out the window.
1. Remember your long-term goals.
It’s unrealistic to try and avoid all unhealthy foods over the holiday season. Keeping your long term goals in mind can help you avoid falling into a spiral of guilt and worry if you happen to get too drunk one night or overdo it on the mince pies at the holiday mixer. Keep the big picture in mind and don’t worry about a few days of excess!
2. Plan ahead.
If you don’t have a plan for meals during the week, for parties, going out, visiting friends, having family over and so on, you are setting yourself up to go off piste. If you have a busy week ahead of you, plan out what you’re going to be eating for all meals so that you don’t go to parties on a empty stomach and so you always have a few meal options prepped in your fridge. If you’re going out in the evening, have something to eat beforehand so you’re not drinking on an empty stomach or filling up on canapés.
3. Eat mindfully and slow down.
It’s tempting to eat quickly when you’re out at holiday lunches and dinners as you get caught in a flurry of conversation and wine top-ups. Try putting your fork down in between bites and allow yourself to really enjoy each mouthful. Check in with yourself throughout the meal and stop eating when you’re full.
4. Out of sight, out of mind.
Have you ever heard yourself say, “take this away from me, so I stop eating it?”. With chocolate in directly in front of you or left on your kitchen counters, it’s easy to overindulge. Once it’s tucked away in a cupboard, you’re likely to forget it’s even there. You can’t stop people from giving you chocolate over the holidays, but you can avoid leaving it out on display. Out of sight, out of mind.
5. Remember to get your veg in.
When eating out, order lots of vegetable dishes and fill up on veg first. If in doubt, order a side salad to be sure you’re getting some of your daily portions of vegetables.
6. Be gentle with yourself.
If you find yourself going a bit of track, don’t beat yourself up or see it as an excuse to write off the rest of the day and eat everything in sight. The next meal is the next opportunity to pick things up again. Good health is a lifelong journey – one heavy night on the prosecco or a couple of days with lots of mince pies won’t derail you if you keep the big picture in mind and stay positive.
Make a commitment to your future self by booking a FREE call with me to see how I can help you take control of your relationship with food and reach your personal health goals. Click here to book a 20 minute call with me or get in touch via email.
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When the temperature drops, the chance of you coming down with a cold or the flu increases significantly.
It’s widely accepted you’ll get sick more often in the winter.
That’s because you’re likely to be inside more and the common cold thrives better in dry air than where there’s humidity. And, when you spend more time indoors, you’re exposed to more germs.
Here’s something interesting about the common cold: when your core internal temperature falls after exposure to cold, the immune system’s ability to battle the rhinovirus (the virus that causes it) is also reduced. The immune system literally slows down. The flu virus is also transmitted much faster when it’s cold out because the lipid (fatty) coating of the virus becomes more resilient the colder it gets.
Your immune system is the most powerful weapon you have against disease. Strong immunity means that the body is better able to fight off viruses and germs. Fewer colds and sick days this winter would be good, right?
There are many diet and lifestyle tweaks you can make to reduce your risk of catching a cold and flu this season. Here are my top tips to keep you feeling fit this month – and beyond!
1. Eat real food. Your body needs real, unprocessed food to stay healthy. Focus on eating natural, unprocessed food as often as possible. Follow the 80/20 rule: this means eating nourishing, unprocessed food at least 80% of the time.
Free-range, organic meat and wild fish, organic fruit and vegetables and wholegrains all contribute to a stronger immune system and offset the occasional indulgence.
2. Get to know probiotic foods. Did you know that up to 80% of our immunity to germs and disease is in our gut? The mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) in the gut is part of the first line of immune defense, so getting the right balance between beneficial, or ‘good’ gut bacteria, and the ‘bad’, or potentially pathogenic bacteria, is key.
The gut environment takes a beating year after year, due to poor diets, too much sugar, stress, antibiotics and other factors. Even if you have no obvious tummy troubles, digestive health is vital, so it’s worth the extra effort to take care of it.
Add probiotic and prebiotic foods to your diet, as these repopulate the gut with good bacteria and feed them well enough to crowd out bad bacteria.
Here are some gut-friendly choices to get you started:
- Organic, probiotic, natural full-fat Greek yoghurt, such as Yeo Valley or Rachel’s
- Miso soup or miso paste
- Onions, garlic and Jerusalem artichokes
- Fermented soy
- Milk or water kefir
3. Have a bowl of chicken soup. Have you ever heard that chicken soup is great when you’re unwell? No, it’s not just an old wives’ tale! Research suggests that a bowl of chicken and vegetable soup can slow the speed at which neutrophils move around your body. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell and part of the immune system, protecting your body from infection. When the neutrophils move slowly, there’s a greater chance of them becoming more concentrated in the areas of your body that need to be healed the most. Studies have shown chicken soup can be particularly helpful in reducing symptoms in upper respiratory system infections like the common cold.
4. Add herbs and spices to your cooking. Adding flavour to food is a smart way to include delicious immune boosters on your plate (and make your food taste better!). Garlic is a potent and flavourful herb. It is antimicrobial, thanks to the active ingredient allicin, which helps fight viruses, and has been used for thousands of years to boost the immune system and prevent sickness.
Most culinary herbs contain anti-inflammatory properties due to their phytonutrients, and in particular, oregano and thyme are rich in immune boosting properties. Spice up your cooking with turmeric and ginger, too, as these are well-documented immune boosters.
5. Cut down on sugar. Even if you don’t consider yourself a sugar addict, it’s worth taking a look at how much you do consume. Sugar fans the flames of inflammation and affects the ability of white blood cells to fend off viruses and bacteria. In fact, the immune system stays depressed for hours after consuming sugar, according to recent studies.
6. Drink more water. Water is a miracle worker. It flushes germs from your system, helps your blood to carry plenty of oxygen to your body’s cells and allows those cells to absorb important nutrients.
Invest in a water filter to avoid taking in high levels of chlorine and fluorine along with your tap water and a stainless steel water bottle to avoid buying plastic bottles when you’re out and about.
7. Get outside! As difficult as this is to achieve in winter, spending sufficient time in sunlight is a vital immune booster. Vitamin D is made by your skin absorbing sunlight and a minimum of 10 minutes a day will help, although it’s worth nothing that darker skin has higher vitamin D requirements.
Supplement your vitamin D levels by eating more oily fish (salmon, mackerel and fresh tuna), free-range, organic beef, mushrooms, cheese, egg yolks and dairy.
8. Get back to basics. An age-old way to boost immunity is by following childhood rules – wash hands, go to bed early and be active. These simple measures may seem boring (and more difficult to achieve than popping a pill), but science proves that they work. And your immune system will thank you for it.
Are you the kind of person that gets sick more often than others? Your immune system could likely use some support. Maybe there is an underlying issue, especially if you also have asthma, eczema or allergies. Is this you? I invite you to book in for a free introductory session with me to talk through your health and wellbeing.
It’s December, which means that the tree is up, we’re playing Christmas tunes non-stop and my husband goes on his daily mince pie extravaganza. I’ve been working hard to bring you my first Holiday gift guide, with different themes, where I give you gift […]
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Like many people in the UK, coffee is my go to morning drink. I love the smell, the taste and the ritual of making a lovely cup of joe. There’s also the sheer weekend pleasure of having the time to sip on a hot cup of black coffee while reading the newspaper.
It pains me to say this because I love it so much, but coffee is a much-maligned drink, with the downside more frequently talked about than the many positives. A recent review of studies in the BMJ showed that moderate coffee drinking is okay and has some benefits, but like all good things, you need to know when to stop.
So what are the benefits?
1. A cup of coffee is so much more than just hot black water. A cup of coffee contains riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3). Coffee is also packed with antioxidants.
2. Coffee can improve brain function. Caffeine blocks one type of neurotransmitter that can hold you back and increases noradrenaline and dopamine, leading to enhanced firing of neurons.
3. Coffee could lower your risk of developing type II diabetes. A number of observational studies show that coffee drinkers have as much as a 62% lower risk of developing this disease; one of the biggest health problems of our time, which is characterised by raised blood sugar and the inability to secrete insulin to lower blood sugar levels. A daily cup can typically lower your risk by 7%.
4. Coffee can help you burn fat. Caffeine is found in almost every fat loss supplement because it’s one of a very small number of substances proven to help with fat burning. Research shows that it can boost your metabolic rate by up to 11%, and raise the amount of fat you burn by between 10% in overweight people and 29% in lean people. The downside is that the effects are likely to diminish with time in regular coffee drinkers.
5. The caffeine in coffee can boost your physical performance. Caffeine stimulates production of adrenaline. This is one of the stress hormones, but primes you for physical activity. A cup of coffee can improve physical performance by up to 12%. Caffeine also stimulates the nervous system, telling it to break down the fat stored in fat cells and making the energy more available to be used as fuel. A cup of black coffee before a workout could improve your performance in the gym!
What’s the best way to enjoy coffee?
No coffee after 2pm. It is, after all, a stimulant and, if you drink it too late in the day, it can interfere with the quality of your sleep, or your ability to get to sleep in the first place.
Ditch the sugar. A sure fire way to undo all the good a cup of coffee can do is to add a few spoons of the white stuff. The downside to sugar is now pretty well documented. In a nutshell, it increases inflammation in the body, and can lead to obesity and diabetes.
Go organic. Coffee is routinely heavily sprayed with pesticides, so go for organic whenever you can.
How much can I drink?
The amount of caffeine in a single cup of coffee varies enormously. A small home brewed cup is likely to contain around 50mg per cup (unless you have an amazing coffee machine), while a large one from a coffee shop might have over 400mg. You’d expect the average cup to have around 100mg.
A number of studies suggest up to 400mg a day (that’s about 4 cups) is safe for most people but many people are able to enjoy more without any ill effects. Do bear in mind that tea, chocolate and some soft drinks and prescription drugs also contain caffeine, so you need to view your coffee intake in light of other things you are eating and drinking.
If you know you need a diet and lifestyle upgrade, but are not sure exactly what that would look like for you, get in touch. Looking forward to talking to you and helping you take the first step towards a new you!
Do you ever have nights where your mind is whirring and it’s tricky to drop off to sleep? I do. I’ve been trying the 4-7-8 deep breathing method to help me get to sleep and it’s been really helpful! Pioneered by Dr Andrew Weil, the […]
This isn’t a trick question!
There are a few signs that tell you it’s worth becoming more familiar with your menstrual cycle.
Are you surprised every month when your period arrives? Do you get hit like a brick with PMS every month, feeling like it’s come out of nowhere? Do you track your period by when you get PMS symptoms?
Ladies, there is a better way!
Knowing more about your menstrual cycle and embracing it can benefit you in so many ways.
Firstly, I encourage you to download one of the many period tracker apps out there and start tracking your menstrual cycle and symptoms. At the very least, you won’t be surprised when your period arrives every month #whitejeansallyear
After a few months, you start to get a sense of the length of your cycle. And it’s really important to know that not every woman has a 28 day cycle. Some women’s cycles can be as short as 21 days and as long as 35 days. Every woman’s cycle is different so don’t compare yourself or your cycle to your friends.
Once you know when your period is scheduled to arrive, you can then start tackling your PMS. Many women get PMS in the 7 days before their periods, with symptoms like bloating, anger, irritability, brain fog, weepiness, pain and acne. PMS is a sign that something is wrong, so please don’t accept it as normal!
But your cycle isn’t just about when you get your period. Did you know that you have four phases to your cycle, where each of your sex hormones will peak or decrease depending on the phase? This is why you might have more or less physical and emotional energy at certain times of your cycle or your libido might be higher or lower. It’s all connected to your hormones.
Knowledge is power. Knowing the ins and outs of your menstrual cycle can help you manage it better, get to grips with PMS, period pain, heavy bleeding and emotional ups and downs.
Do you need help understanding your cycle and your hormones? Book in for a free 20 minute Hormone Health Review!