Tag Archives: Health

Coffee: Friend or Foe?

The whole world loves to drink coffee. Everyone is looking for their caffeine fix to get them through their busy day. I must be one of the very few that hates the taste of coffee. I have always been more of a tea drinker. So is coffee really that bad for you? There are so many articles out their stating that coffee is either good for your health or it is the absolute evil. Personally I believe that moderation is key. 1-2 cups a day won’t kill you however too much coffee can cause side effects.

Caffeine is a stimulant and most people will sit at their desks all day working or studying drinking coffee to keep them alert, sharp and focused. While coffee does make you more alert one must also remember that overdosing yourself with coffee can also cause anxiety, heart palpitations and may give you the shakes. When I used to study I used to drink lots of tea and at one point I felt quite anxious and had to stop.

Drinking too much coffee increases cortisol which is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands which is released in response to a person being afraid or stressed. In a ‘fight or flight’ situation in the old days the cortisol would be utilised as the person either fought or ran for their lives.  Today we sit at our desk drinking coffee to keep going producing more cortisol and not exercising to get rid of it. Cortisol levels are high in the mornings and lower at night. It regulates blood pressure, helps the body to utilise glucose for energy. It sends a message to the liver to release stored glycogen to fuel the muscles and the brain. However too much stored in the body can result in weight gain, depression, mental illness, impaired memory and brain function.

Too much caffeine can dehydrate both the body and skin giving a dull complexion. It is therefore important to always drink plenty of water through out the day and hydrate before your cup of coffee.  Also it is best to drink coffee black with no sugar or milk as this decreases calories and makes it healthier.

Coffee contains a group of compounds called polyphenols that are antioxidants  that reduce the risk of strokes,heart attacks and lower blood pressure. However as mentioned before you should not consume more than 1-2 cups a day.

I hope you have found the above tips useful.

 

 

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Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting seems to be the latest trend but it is actually very good. I practice it myself and the benefits are enormous. I no longer wake up bloated and my water retention has also improved not to mention the increase in energy.

What is intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is a fasting pattern where you alternate between periods of where you fast and eat. Usually you will fast between 14 – 18 hours. The other way you can do it is by restricting your calorie in take to 700  a day for two days of the week eating normally for the other 5 days. Personally I go for the 14-18 hour option.

The 8am – 6pm Plan

This is the one that works for me and I find it is also good for beginners. You eat between 8am – 6pm. You eat your last meal at 5.30pm. I go to bed between 10 -11pm so this is perfect for me. I don’t struggle at all with the 14 hour fast and it also gives me the chance to eat my 3 main meals a day with snacks. I find it easier as I go to bed early so I am fasting mainly as I sleep. When I awake I will have my lemon water and little fruit  before having my breakfast. I practice this every day.

The 12pm – 6pm Plan

If you are not a breakfast person then this way of fasting is ideal for you. It also means you fast 4 hours more. You have to find what works for you. As mentioned above I like having my 3 meals a day. Also for me a 14 hour fast is more than enough.

The importance of preparing for any fast

No one shoe fits all and fasting is not for everyone. If you have a healthy diet fasting will not be a problem. If you tend to eat a lot of processed foods and are generally unhealthy you will no doubt struggle with any fast. Therefore it is very important to prepare the body. Start by slowly eliminating unhealthy foods like sugar and alcohol.

Always consult your doctor before embarking on any type of fast especially if you have any type of medical condition and are taking medication.

Benefits of intermittent fasting

The results will be clearer skin, an abundance of energy, an improvement in memory and concentration, becoming less acidic and more alkaline with a stronger immune system. Intermittent fasting  also lowers the risk of cancer. It also helps with fighting free radical damage and inflammation in the body. Constant inflammation in the body leads to disease. It is also fantastic for improving gut health.

I hope the above helps. I am a qualified nutritional therapist so feel free to ask me any questions. If you would like a bespoke nutritional plan please email me.

 

 

 

5 Tips on How to Find Balance in Your Life

Finding balance in our every day lives can often be very challenging especially today when we lead such hectic  lives. There are a lot of women who struggle to find the balance with motherhood and holding a job which leads to major stress. How often have we said to ourselves that there are not enough hours in a day to do everything. Finding balance is essential if we want to have a healthy body and mind. It is important to understand that balance is not a temporary fix. It is long term. It won’t always be easy to find that balance and you will struggle in the beginning, but the important thing is not to give up and keep trying until you get there. Here below are a few tips that I hope you will find useful.

Goals

When setting goals it is important to set realistic ones. Focus on the important things that matter most. Concentrate on setting long term and short term goals. Set goals focusing on your finances, job and relationships. Sit down, concentrate and write down what you really want to achieve and be consistent in committing to your goals.

Prioritise 

When you set goals and make lists you write down the most important things to do first. You just have to figure out what is more important and then you systematically get it done crossing it off your to do  list. This is important as it gives you structure and order stopping you stressing about doing everything at once, which is virtually impossible and just causes unnecessary anxiety.

Learn to say no

Do not feel obliged that you have to say yes to every one all the time whether it is at work or at home. This becomes easier as you get older. You can be polite and still say no. If you do not want to do something don’t do it. No point adding more stress to your already busy life.

Learn to delegate

Do not be afraid to ask for help. It is impossible to do everything yourself.  We all need help. So get your partners and children to help you. If you know you won’t have time to do something , instead of stressing just ask your partner. Get your children to do chores around the house. Write down a schedule with different tasks and stick it on the fridge so the whole family know what they have to do.

Find time for yourself

This is extremely important. Find one day a week where you totally relax and pamper yourself. Have a massage, facial or a manicure. This will make you feel good. Yoga is extremely relaxing and calming so try to do it at least once a week. Taking a break from social media is also a good idea. Instead of spending hours on the phone, tablet or computer  in the evenings, take a relaxing long bath and listen to some classical music. This will make you sleep well and you will be refreshed the next morning.

 

Turmeric Paste

Turmeric is so good for you. It is anti-cancer. This paste is so easy to make. If you have it on its own it will not taste that great, but you can put it into your smoothies, almond milk, porridge and curries. I even put it on my oven baked fish.

Ingredients

I/2 cup of organic ground turmeric

1 cup of water (you may need more)

1 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

70 ml of coconut oil

Method

Place the turmeric  and water in a pot on medium heat and stir until it becomes a paste. This should take about 8 minutes. It should not be too watery so if it is add more turmeric and if it is too dry add more water.

Once the paste is ready let it cool a little and when still warm add the black pepper, coconut oil and ground ginger and mix well together.

Once it has cooled place in a glass jar and store it in fridge. It can be stored for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy.

 

 

5 Ways to Get Back on Track After the Holidays

This is my first post of 2018 and my first post in over a year. Due to personal reasons I took a break and I have to say that I actually enjoyed being away from social media. Like everyone I enjoyed the festive season and had a lovely Christmas, but now time to get back on track. I guess most of you are feeling bloated, fatigued and overweight after eating and drinking too much over the holidays. The secret to getting back to your usual routine is to do it straight away as soon as the festive season ends. The more you postpone it the harder it will be.

Get to bed early

Routine starts with going to bed early and getting up early. During the holidays most of us including myself would have gone to bed late. In order to get your body to its normal routine sleep is vital. When sleep is disrupted you wake up feeling exhausted and groggy. Getting back to a healthy sleeping habit will leave you feeling refreshed.

Grab a green Juice

Instead of grabbing another coffee go for a green juice. This is a fantastic way to include more greens into your diet. After all the over eating and drinking too much alcohol you need to alkalise your body. So go grab a juice on your way to work.

Get moving

Physical activity goes hand in hand with healthy eating. Get up early and go run or walk in the winter sun. Exercising not only will help you lose the kilos put on over Christmas but it will make you feel good and improve your mood. I suggest you exercise early morning before work. This is a great way to start the day.

Eat Healthy

I do not believe in diets but I do believe in healthy eating. A balanced diet is key to feeling good and functioning well. If we want to keep our bodies and brain active we must fuel it with the correct nutrients. Include more fruit and vegetables into your diet. Make sure you get plenty of good quality protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. As mentioned before after the festive season your body will be pretty acidic with all the alcohol and sweets consumed so you need to be alkaline. Give your liver a break and cut back on the alcohol and drink more water.

Have a light week

For the first week of the new year concentrate on you, on resting your body and mind. Spend time at home and cancel your social diary for that first week. You need to take a break. Have relaxing massages and listen to  classical music. This will help boost your  energy levels and it is also a time to reflect and set realistic goals for the year ahead.

 

I hope the above tips help. If you are looking to lose weight or have other health issues please email me or feel free to purchase my initial consultation on my website.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

No matter your level of fitness, you want to make sure that you get the most out of your workout. Here below are a few tips that will help you to achieve best results.

Stay hydrated

I discussed the importance of drinking water in my previous post. You should drink before, during and after exercising. Dehydration will lead to muscle weakness and fatigue. If you are tired you will not be able to make the most of your workout.

Get a personal trainer to prepare your fitness programme

Join a gym and get a personal trainer to give you a bespoke fitness programme. No matter what level of fitness you are at,  you will always benefit from a personal trainer. You tell them your goals, which area of your body you want to focus on. Not only will they show you the correct way of performing exercises but they will constantly be giving you new exercises to challenge yourself.

Plan your workout

Write down your goals and exercise plan for the next two weeks. By writing your workout programme it will encourage routine and you are most likely to stick to the plan. The plan should include the time you intend to workout, what activities you plan on doing each day and the duration.

Don’t forget to stretch

It is so important to stretch before and after any physical activity. So many people do not stretch enough. Stretching prevents soreness and muscle, joint and tendon injuries. Have you ever suffered from a low back pain upon waking up in the morning?  If you stretch before and after you won’t have any pain. I know from personal experience. I always used to stretch very little at the end of my workout and I suffered terrible lower back pain. This pain disappeared the minute I started stretching more. Stretching also improves flexibility.

Make sure to warm up before any physical activity

This is just as important as stretching as it helps to prevent injuries. by warming up you are preparing the muscles for a vigorous workout. Warm up should be light, you are warming up the body so no need to wear yourself out. Save your energy for the actual workout. I normally always do 10 minutes light cycling as my warm up followed by stretching.

Mix it up

Do not always do the same things. Not only will your body get used to it but you will end up getting bored of doing the same exercises day in and day out. To see results you have to challenge yourself and try different exercises. Try cardio, resistance training, yoga, HIIT, boxing etc. The more the better.

Calorie intake

Are you eating too little or too much? Healthy eating is essential if you want to get the best results in the gym. However starving is not the solution. Too often I see women not eating enough because they fear putting on weight. If you do not fuel your body correctly and eat too little, the body will feel fatigued and will not be able to perform at its best. Consuming too many calories is also not good. Having a big workout does not mean over indulging in junk food. Moderation is key. You should be having 3 healthy meals and 2 snacks a day. Make sure you have protein after your workout.  If you eat the right foods you will have an abundance of energy thus gaining maximum results from your workout.

Watch your form

No point in doing lots of repetitions if you are not performing the exercises properly. You risk injuring yourself. Best to do less but correctly. Form is everything. If you are new to exercise or not sure about a particular exercise please ask a qualified personal trainer who will be more than willing to help you.

Change your exercise routine 4-6 weeks

If you want to see changes in your body you have to change your workout regime every 4 – 6 weeks. It is important to keep challenging yourself. Not to mention you will get bored of performing the same exercises. You want to keep pushing yourself. You want to feel the burn when you exercise. By performing the same physical activity your muscles will adapt and you will not see results

Foam rollers

Foam rollers are truly great as they iron out your muscle. It is like having a deep tissue massage releasing knots and is used by athletes. It improves cellulite, posture, range of motion, flexibility and improves athletic performance. I did a  previous blog post on the benefits of foam rolling and how to use them with exercises.

I hope the above tips help you to achieve the best results!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kale and Broccoli Smoothie

After all the Valentine’s Day chocolate treats over the weekend I thought a cleansing green smoothie was called for. It is so important to keep the body alkaline and start the day right! This smoothie is full of healthy fats and goodness to make sure you have tons of energy through out the day.

Ingredients

A handful of kale

2 broccoli florets

A handful of spinach

1 frozen banana

1/2 an avocado peeled and stone removed

juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

Water

1 scoop of hemp protein

Ice

Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy