Tag: i tried it

I Tried It: Alternate Nostril Breathing

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 Tried It: The 4-7-8 Deep Breathing Method For Better Sleep

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 […]

I Tried It: Hot Yoga

Photo by Aral Tasher on Unsplash

I just completed 30 days of yoga and I’m hooked. I love how yoga calms and relaxes me, how it’s increasing my flexibility and how much stronger I’m becoming.

 

I’ve started another Yoga with Adriene 30 day challenge, but last week, I decided that I wanted try a hot yoga class to mix things up a bit.

 

I found a hot yoga class in central London that looked interesting, although admittedly, I was a bit skeptical of my ability to actually complete the class. Not because I was worried about being in a group setting, it was more about my ability to cope with the heat of the room. Real talk: I’ve had low blood pressure since I was pregnant with my son, so being in really hot places always makes me feel a bit light headed.

 

I decided to give it a go and registered for a lunchtime class at Another Space with the lovely Ellisif.

 

So here’s the thing about hot yoga that makes it different to the vinyasa yoga I usually do.  The class takes place in 32° infrared heat, so you’re doing vinyasa yoga at the normal high intensity, and the heat raises your heart rate even further.

 

In a nutshell: it’s very hot and you will get very sweaty.

 

The next time I do a hot yoga class, I will definitely wear fewer clothes. I thought I was being smart, wearing just cropped leggings, a tank top with lots of wicking capability and a sports bra. But even that was too much: there were men wearing only shorts and women in sports bras and short shorts in order to beat the heat.

 

For me, it was a bit of a mental transition going from doing yoga at home in an airy room with a draft to doing yoga in a very hot room, surrounded by people wearing as little as possible. And I won’t lie: the first five minutes of the class were tough, as I struggled to get to grips with the heat. And then just like that, something in my brain clicked into place and I was finally able to relax into the heat and the vinyasa flows.

 

The 45 minutes class was a very dynamic, with vinyasa yoga flows and very few breaks.

 

Reader, I loved it.

 

I left the class very sweaty but feeling full of endorphins, calm and very focused. And a little happier.

 

A little note: I wouldn’t recommend a hot yoga class to a complete yoga newbie. My view is that it would be a lot to learn the poses and flows and try to cope with the heat. So if you’re a seasoned yogi or have been doing yoga for a little while, I highly recommend trying a hot yoga class for a little variety.

 

Do you do hot yoga? Any tips and tricks to share?

 

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I Tried It: 30 Days of Yoga

Do you do yoga? It’s something I always recommend yoga to my stressed out clients. It’s incredible for reducing cortisol, the major stress hormone, and getting people to focus on the quality of their breathing. In addition, a recent study shows that yoga and meditation […]

I Tried It: Whole30

I haven’t felt like writing much about food and nutrition recently. There’s been a lot going on, personally and professionally. New job, a heavier course load at school and loads of political distraction (every morning, I wake up and think, ‘what now?’. Don’t you?). It’s […]

I Tried It: Making Ghee

Have you ever used ghee? Ghee, a clarified butter, is known as ‘liquid gold’ in some South Asian cultures because it comes from the revered cow. The process of making ghee removes the milk solids and water and leaves you with lovely golden liquid that solidifies as it goes to room temperature.

I started using ghee a few years ago when I started eating paleo. It’s a very versatile fat with an exceptionally high smoke point, which means that it’s great for high temperature cooking – frying, grilling, searing, etc.

My bug bear with ghee is that organic, grass-fed versions can be very expensive. Last week, I was chatting with my mother and she mentioned that she wanted to try making it herself, and I thought, hmmm, why don’t I try it as well. And what do you know, it was so easy that I’ll be making my own from now on!

What you need:

2 blocks of unsalted grass-fed butter

A cast iron pan

A ladle

A ceramic bowl

Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer

A large glass jar to store the ghee

How to make it:

1. Place your cast iron pan onto the stove and put the burner on medium heat.

2. Place the two blocks of unsalted butter into the pan.

3. As the blocks melt, the milk solids will rise to the top. When the blocks have completely melted and the liquid starts to bubble, turn the heat off. This should take about 5-7 minutes.

4. Use your ladle to pass the liquid through the strainer, with the ceramic bowl underneath to catch the ghee. If you end up using a fine mesh strainer rather than a cheesecloth, you may need to strain the mixture twice to completely remove all of the milk solids. Once this step is complete, you should be left with beautiful golden ghee.

5. Let the ghee cool for a few minutes before pouring into your glass container. Stored in the fridge, where the ghee will solidify, it should last for at least a month, if you use clean utensils when cooking with it.

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P.S. When I was making this, I wondered what I should do with the leftover milk solids. I did some quick Googling and found that some people save them and crumble them onto their morning porridge, brown them to add a lovely buttery taste to stewed fruit, pancakes or anything else you would normally use butter in. Some people even spread the milk solids onto toast!

I Tried It: Going To Bed Early

I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for at least seven months now, trying to fit everything in. Being a good mother, being a good wife, cooking, studying for my nutrition degree, doing coursework, working four days a week and trying to fit in […]

I Tried It: The Specific Carbohydrate Diet

As I go further into my Nutrition degree, we’ve been learning more nutrition theory and practical elements, like clinical practice with patients and specific dietary models. The third assignment this year is to trial one of the dietary models we could potentially recommend to a […]

I Tried It: The Mooncup

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Have you ever tried a menstrual cup? I hadn’t, until recently.

This goop article got me thinking about the implications of the cotton, chemicals and bleach in mainstream tampons. How many tampons do you think the average woman uses in a lifetime? Apparently it’s almost 11,000! That’s nearly 22 every menstrual cycle.

And what are the implications of all that non-organic cotton going into one of the most absorbent parts of your body? Makes you think, doesn’t it?

There are also the effects on the environment to consider. Many women still flush their used tampons down the loo, which puts a lot of pressure on water treatment plants, as tampons do not break down very easily.

After a particularly painful period recently that included a few too many tampon mishaps, I decided to search for alternatives.

Enter the Mooncup.

This is a medical grade silicone cup that gets inserted into the vagina, instead of tampons and is meant to be much cleaner than using pads.

When my Mooncup arrived, I looked at it and I figured, I’ve had a baby come out of there, how hard can this little cup be to manoeuvre?

Well. It does take a bit of practice to get it in, just like it did when I first started using tampons, a long, long time ago. 🙂 And after a while, it becomes natural and effortless. Once you get the hang of inserting and removing it, the Mooncup can be kept in for up to 8 hours at a time, holding up to 15 mL of fluid at a time.

You absolutely need to be comfortable with blood and with emptying and cleaning the cup throughout the day. And that means that menstrual cups just may not be right for some women. Here’s a great primer on how to easily insert and remove menstrual cups (link totally safe for work!).

As for me, I love using the Mooncup and plan to continue using it indefinitely.

And it seems that I’m not the only one looking at alternatives to tampons and pads. The THINX ‘period underwear’ have been getting a lot of coverage recently.

Would you ever try an alternative to tampons and pads?

P.S. If you’re not convinced, here’s a great natural tampon alternative.

Photo by Anders Jilden

 

I Tried It: Juicing

I’ll start this blog post by admitting that I have never really been a fan of juicing. I hate the hype and near-religious devotion to it. I hate the waste – seriously, what do juice bars do with all the leftover pulp? I hate that […]

I Tried It: Making Bone Broth

2015 has been the year of bone broth or stock, as your grandmother would call it. From Brodo to #boilyourbones, the Hemsley sisters’ catchphrase, it seemed like everyone was getting into the long simmer.   Real talk: I made a half hearted attempt at making […]

I Tried It: Improving My Knife Skills

When you cook, a good knife or set of knives is really important. And they must be sharp.

I learned this the hard way when I sliced my finger open trying to cut through a particularly tough sweet potato. It was there and then, I decided two things – to sharpen my knives properly and to go on a course to learn to proper knife skills.

I booked myself on to a course at the fabulous Leith’s School of Food and Wine in West London. When the day came, for some unknown reason, I was a bit nervous, but all nerves were swept away by the friendly staff and instructors.

They started the 3 1/2 hour course by running through the basics – explaining the names of the different knives, their usages, how to hold a knife properly and how to sharpen a knife. Did you know that you should ideally sharpen your knives at least once a week, if not more? Nope, me neither.

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We then started off by dicing a celery, then went on to french frying and cubing potatoes and julienning carrots and leeks.

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It was very eye opening to see how easy cutting vegetables could be – with the right technique. I had recently begun to rely on my food processor to slice and dice onions, garlic, peppers and herbs and since taking this course, I haven’t used it. I’ve become so much more precise (and faster!), so all the food prep needed for cooking is much easier now!

The instructor and her assistants walked around to make sure we were all using the right technique – an almost ‘rolling’ action with the knife in our dominant hand, pulling the knife up and cutting with a forward motion. Then repeating, without letting the tip of the knife leave the board. With the other hand, holding the vegetable with a claw like action, so that the tips of the fingers and nails are curled under and the knife is resting of the middle section of the fingers. Here’s a nice set of images demonstrating this technique with an onion.

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We spent the second half of the course focusing on herbs and fruit. We learnt how to finely chop fresh herbs (the picture above is my attempt to finely chop chives, rosemary and parsley), as well as how to chiffonade big leafy herbs like basil.

The hardest part of the course was sectioning oranges to make nice little wedges with no pith on them. My poor attempts (that I didn’t bother to take a photograph of) show that this is clearly something that takes a lot of practice, so I have even more respect for the chefs and sous-chefs that produce such lovely orange wedges for breakfast buffets!

And best of all, we didn’t go home empty handed! We used the herbs to make a lovely herb & garlic butter, put the oranges wedges in caramel sauce and  put together a tomato & basil salsa to take home to show our loved ones the fruits of our chopping efforts.

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I can’t wait to take another course at Leith’s. It was such a wonderful and very practical experience, that ended very pleasantly with a lovely ploughman’s buffet lunch with lovely French wine.

I Tried It: Barry’s Bootcamp

Barry’s Bootcamp has been on my fitness to-do list for ages, but it’s taken me a while to ‘gee’ myself up to try it out.  Any workout that combines treadmill sprints (not my favourite, at the best of times) and strength training is always going […]