Looking for Heightened and sustained levels of Energy? Embrace your B vitamins

Did you know that lack of Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine leads to loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, irritability, convulsion and dermatitis? Well, if you did- well done. If you didn’t, don’t worry, many of us don’t realize what role vitamins play in our well-being. When was the last time you had your vitamin levels checked? Here is a quick summary of why you should be aware of the vital role vitamins play in your body.

The main vitamins that the body needs are A, B group, C, D, E and K. Vitamins and minerals are often referred to collectively as micro-nutrients. Micro-nutrients often work together to perform a job within the body. That is why it is so important to eat a varied balanced diet so that a good range of vitamins and minerals can be obtained.

The role of Vitamins within the body is to regulate certain bodily functions, help in the building of body tissues, bone and blood and to help the body metabolize fats, carbs and proteins which enables the body to obtain energy from the food we eat. So if you are a high performer looking for heightened and sustained levels of energy, you now know what to eat!

Today, let’s see how the Vitamin B group contributes to our energy and well-being. The B group of vitamins consists of vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12.

Vitamin B1- Thiamine

This is a water soluble vitamin, so cannot be stored in the body and therefore needs to be topped up daily. It acts as a coenzyme to release energy from the carbohydrates, fats and alcohol that is put into the body. It is also involved in the transmission of nerve signals and the formation of collagen in the skin. It’s also a mild diuretic.

Deficiency of B1 can result to the conditition; Beri beri and it is sometimes seen in alcoholics as a form of dementia.

Some of the symptoms include;

·         Fatigue

·         Depression

·          Headache

·         Insomnia

·          Irritability

·         Anorexia

 

Vitamin B1 is found in; Lean pork, unrefined cereals, Nuts, seeds and nuts.

Vitamin B2/ Riboflavin

It is also a water soluble vitamin and has to be topped up daily. All the B vitamins are water soluble. As with B1, vitamin B2 also acts as a coenzyme. It helps the body use and digest carbohydrates and proteins. It also acts as an antioxidant. It also protects the mucous membranes

Although acute deficiencies in B2 are rare, symptoms that suggest a person is not receiving enough B2 are;

·         Cracks around the nose and mouth

·         Fatigue and

·         Depression.

Absorption of calcium, iron and zinc may also be affected during deficiency. The people most at risk of deficiency are older people, who may not absorb the vitamin efficiently from their food.

Vitamin B2 is found in most foods of animal origin, E.g. Eggs, Milk, Fish, Meat, it is also found in whole grain products and dark green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin B3/ Niacin.

As a water soluble vitamin, excess B3 is eliminated from the body in urine. B3 is involved in energy production, DNA repair, fatty acid synthesis and antioxidant functions. It also helps regulate blood glucose. Therapeutically, nicotinic acid, a form of niacin, can be used to lower cholesterol levels.

Deficiencies in vitamin B3 can cause:

·         Irritability

·         Fatigue

·         Depression

·         Anxiety

·         Sore patches on the skin

·         Sore mouth and tongue

Vitamin B3 is found in; Liver, Nuts, Tuna, Chicken, Halibut, Mushrooms

Please note if you are going to supplement B3, High doses of niacin supplements can cause uncomfortable flushes on the hand Supplements consisting of niacinamide are less likely to cause flushes.

Vitamin B5/ pantothenic acid

The active form of B5 is coenzyme A which is vital for life. It is involved in energy production and the synthesis of hormones, fatty acids, proteins and neurotransmitters (chemical messengers)

Although deficiencies are generally thought to be rare, Some Symptoms of deficiency include:

·         Fatigue

·         Headache

·         Depression

·          Insomnia

·         Muscle aches

·         Numbness and burning in lower legs and feet

·          Anemia

Vitamin B5 is found in many foods. Good sources include; Chicken, Beef, Potatoes, Oats, Tomatoes, Liver, Kidney, Yeast, Egg yolk, Broccoli, Whole grains.

Vitamin B5 is also manufactured by the beneficial bacteria in the colon.

Vitamin B6/ Pyridoxine.

As a water soluble vitamin, excess B6 is eliminated from the body in urine. Vitamin B6 helps the body process and release energy from proteins and fats. It’s essential in ensuring that the body gets the energy and nutrients it needs from food.  It also helps the body to form hemoglobin- substance that carries oxygen around the body. It is also key to sex hormone function and is often prescribed for menstrual difficulties including PMS.

Deficiencies in vitamin B6 can

·         cause skin rashes

·         an upset stomach, and

·         Damage to nerves in infants.

·         Convulsions

·         Anemia.

Milder deficiency symptoms include:

·         Depression

·         Irritability

·         Anxiety

·         Sores at the corner of the Mouth

·         Mouth ulcers

·         A sore tongue

Vitamin B6 is found in: Chicken, Pork, Lamb, Fish, Liver, Eggs, Whole grains, Beer, Milk, Brown rice, Soya beans, Potatoes, Nuts and Dark green vegetables

VITAMIN B9/FOLIC ACID or Folate

 Folic acid is vital for fetal growth and the development of healthy nerves, cells as well as protein metabolism.

Folic acid alongside B6 and B12 is needed for the metabolism of homocysteine- An Amino acid that is produced by the human body usually as a byproduct of consuming meat.  

A deficiency may contribute to a greater risk of heart disease.

Deficiency can also contribute to some forms of anemia.

Deficiencies in folic acid famously cause birth defects in babies such as spina bifida. This is one of the main reasons why pregnant mothers are advised to take folic acid by their doctors.

Folic acid is found in; Green leafy vegetables, Nuts and seeds, Fortified cereals and milks, Wheat germ and Eggs

 

VITAMIN B12

As a water soluble vitamin, excess B12 is eliminated from the body in urine.

Vitamin B12 helps the nervous system run smoothly and keeps it healthy.

It helps release energy from food, and is essential in processing folic acid in the body.

Vitamin B12 also helps the body manufacture red blood cells.

Deficiencies in vitamin B12 can cause;

·         Anaemia

·         nerve damage.

Vegans and vegetarians are likely to become deficient in vitamin B12, as this vitamin is only found in animal products. B12 deficiency is also common in the elderly.

·         As B12 is needed for the metabolism of homocysteine, deficiency can contribute to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

 Here is a summary;

 ·         All B vitamins are water soluble. This means they cannot be stored in the body. If there is an excess of a water soluble vitamin in the body, it’s simply eliminated in urine. Vitamin B12 is the exception because it can be stored in the liver long term.

·         Most of the vitamins needed by the body are not created in the body, but are gained from food therefore eating a well balanced, healthy diet is important to keep the body in tip top condition.

·         As vitamins and minerals work in synergy together it is always best to ensure that you do not supplement single vitamin or mineral supplements. Supplementing single vitamin and mineral supplements can be dangerous. For example taking single supplements of the antioxidant vitamins A and E without adequate vitamin C is particularly dangerous as it may result in more free radicals being created in the body resulting in more damage to cells.

·         B vitamins have a lot of important functions including providing energy to our cells. They control immune function, hormones, mood, sleep, nerves, circulation and digestion. Vitamin B12, for example, supports the production of white blood cells, which are essential components of the immune system. When your body is low in Vitamin B12, the white blood cell count is lowered, which in turn weakens the immune system, making it more inclined to mistakenly attacking its own cells- rogue immune system = Auto immune conditions

Deficiency in most of the discussed B vitamins, lead to Anemia and fatigue among other energy draining symptoms. If you are seeking for heightened and sustained levels of energy (high performance) be sure to have your B vitamins in check!

Here is to high and consistent energy levels!

Lessons from my 10 year old patient; Type 1 Diabetes

My patient last week was a beautiful 10 years old girl; newly diagnosed with diabetes type 1.

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. We still do not know what causes this auto-immune reaction. Type 1 diabetes is not linked to modifiable lifestyle factors

A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes means your pancreas is no longer capable of producing insulin. Through multiple daily injections with insulin pens or syringes or an insulin pump, it will be up to you to monitor your blood glucose levels and appropriately administer your insulin.

Nutrition is one of the most important pieces of the diabetes puzzle. Understanding how different foods affect your blood glucose and learning to develop solid meal plans will be a crucial part of your daily routine.

When my patient came to me, she didn’t know where to start; she had not accepted the diagnosis although she was already on insulin. Emotional support becomes key in diabetes care. It is highly encourage to Connect with other people living with diabetes that understand the daily grind of being aware of what carbohydrates spike your blood sugar, testing blood glucose multiple times each day and dealing with the various highs and lows (both physical and emotional) of life with diabetes can make all the difference.

Symptoms

  • Being excessively thirsty
  • Passing more urine
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Having cuts that heal slowly
  • Itching, skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Leg cramps.

These symptoms may occur suddenly. If they occur, see a doctor. Through a simple test, a doctor can find out if they’re the result of type 1 diabetes.

Management, care and treatment

Type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin injections several times a day or the use of an insulin pump. While your lifestyle choices didn’t cause type 1 diabetes, the choices you make now can reduce the impact of diabetes-related complications including kidney disease, limb amputation and blindness.

The single best advice for managing blood sugar is choosing to eat smart carbs! Less simple carbohydrates (sugar) and more of high fiber non starchy vegetables will make your blood sugar more stable, more in range, and make it far easier to avoid highs and lows.

So it is clear-The devil is sugar. We don’t realize that we are eating way too much sugar because it is hiding in practically everything we consume. While we know it in its natural form of table sugar, it’s also in bread, pasta, rice and hidden in foods like ketchup, yogurt, spaghetti sauce, breakfast cereals and on and on, well, it’s just about everywhere, including the majority of our processed, refined food products. Choose whole foods, natural for you and your family and avoid any food with a long list of ingredients or ingredients that you cannot pronounce!

Here is to kicking out sugar and healthy living!

The Chips- and Soda Lifestyle; Organ cleansing

Two weeks ago, my clients and I went on a cleansing program- we do this three times in a year. Did you know that an average Person has about 3kgs of old fecal matter in the colon even with 1 bowel movement each day?

If each of us took the responsibility of living well, there would be no need to concern ourselves with cleansing 2-3 times in a year. However, most of us are not living right. We don’t eat the right foods; we don’t get the right exercises- most of us have sedentary lifestyles, we don’t get enough fresh air and sunshine. We are mentally, physically and emotionally stressed out. There are so many things we’re not doing right, we can’t expect the digestive system to function properly.

If you look at the statistics today, our health care system is on reactive mode- we tend to treat diseases as opposed to providing preventive measures, we are medicating as opposed to educating. Why? Because of bad living habits; Chips- and Soda lifestyle.

No patient should be discharged before being given lessons on how to manage their kitchens at home, how to feed their families and how to prevent recurrence

of the trouble that brought them to hospital. Otherwise, they will soon be back with the same or similar ailment. You may think I’m a little harsh in this, but my doctor and friend- Dr. Kepha says that one operation leads to another. Do you know why? Because unfortunately, nothing was done to deal with the original cause that led to the first operation. We need to start addressing the root causes as opposed to treating symptoms. Lifestyle change is the root cause. We need to know how to become healthy and how to stay healthy

Allow me to share 3 lessons learnt through my clients’ experience.

Lesson number 1; not sure if cleansing is for you..? Listen to your body.

Our bodies communicate to us every day; we are just too busy to listen. Our bodies use the feedback mechanism in the form of symptoms. Some of the symptoms include;

·        Lack of energy

·        Tiredness

·        Irritability

·        Restlessness

·        Intolerance

·        Quarrelsomeness,

·        Fatigue

·        Lack of endurance

·        Increasing frequency of illness and my favorite one..

·        Bowel movement- we should be having 2-3 bowel movements in a day. However, most of us have been trained to believe that if the bowel isn’t functioning correctly we can turn to laxatives. Laxatives are a best seller in our pharmacies today for both adults and children- sad. They only address the symptoms and not the root cause.

We may argue that eating better can help- which is true. Eating more vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and whole foods is a great step; exercising too. However, we can’t put new wine in old bottles. We can’t put clean food into a dirty body and expect good results. We’re only going to get partial, perhaps even negligible results. We have to do better than that. This is where cleansing comes in.

Take away; when you experience the above symptoms…. STOP, Listen and ACT.

Lesson number 2; be mentally prepared.

 Consciously shift your focus to what you want and what you know you can accomplish. Your body is crying out, it needs to heal. The most powerful step is setting your intentions, which requires your mind- power of focus. When you set intentions, be mentally prepared, your body owns the process effortlessly.  Take time and write down what you want to achieve from the cleanse. There is power in writing. We also give a symptom tracker form so that clients can note down the symptoms they are currently experiencing before they start the program and the results are compared at the end of the cleanse. Aligning your mind with your intentions is an important step that contributes to a successful cleanse.

It is also important to get medical tests done. The tests are optional; they help you know the status of your health in terms of cravings and sugar levels. We highly recommend the NMR lipid profile test (more comprehensive than the standard cholesterol test) Hemoglobin test and the Glucose Tolerance or the Insulin Response test.

Lesson 3; Clean up your kitchen

Prepare to win by removing any temptations.

It is important to create time and clean/ remove “poison”. Poison is any food that doesn’t serve our body, food that creates more harm than good. Detoxing your kitchenis a great step to success. A great guideline depending on the cleanse/ detox you are undertaking is;

·        Remove anything that is not real food- Junk.

·        Any foods with artificial sweeteners, preservatives, additives and coloring or dyes

·        Any food or drink that contains sugar of any kind

·        Anything that contains hydrogenated oils and refined vegetable oils

·        Products containing gluten and dairy.

·        Alcohol and coffee – in other words “drugs”. They temporarily make you feel energized and alert, “high” but those effects wear off very fast, leaving you needing more; crash-and-crave cycle.

Last but not least, ensure you are doing your cleanse under the supervision of a doctor, wellness coach, dietitian or certified Nutritionist. A great cleanse should follow a simple daily structure to enable your body’s natural ability to heal itself. Some of the benefits include improved skin, sleep, digestion, energy, healthy weight loss, and mental clarity with a reduction in bloating, constipation, headaches, and joint pain. You should have your practitioners support before, during and after the program.

Always remember-No pills or hunger/ starvation is allowed during a cleanse. One of the reasons some of the cleanses are damaging to our bodies is that they are based on pushing our bodies into "starvation mode," requiring that you do not eat solid foods. The truth is that when you don't give your body food to perform optimally (fuel), it responds by storing fat as a survival mechanism to keep you alive. Not only is this a health danger, but as soon as you have your first bite of something solid, healthy or not, you instantly gain the weight back that you had "lost," if not more! Beats the purpose if you ask me!

Here is to a functional toxin-free body!

Healthy spreads; an alternative to butter and margarine

I have found these amazing healthy spreads to be easy to make and they taste so good! I am one person who believes in simplicity. I also strongly believe in eating good food; if it tastes good then it will make you feel good! 

Because of the kids, we do bread once a week. We found a store that stocks sprouted grain bread and buns in one of the malls. Sprouted grain bread is a healthy alternative to white flour or whole grain flour bread. The preparation process process involves soaking the grains in water until they begin to grow a sprout. Sprouted grain bread is better not only because it uses the whole grain, but the process sprouted grains go through actually breaks down the proteins and carbohydrates in the grain, increasing vitamin content to the consumer. Yes, it still contains a moderate amount of gluten but it is a healthier choice compared to white or whole grain bread.

Spreads just like toppings in food can make the dish unhealthy. Most of us are limited to butter and margarine, yet there are so many other simple, healthy and delicious choices. We can opt to use Nut butters; almond, macadamia, almond or avocado which is natural and tastes so good. My favorite is hummus. which is so easy to make.

here is my simple recipe

Make Tahini first (sesame paste)

You will need 1 cup of sesame seeds. toast them on a pan until they are golden brown then after they have cooled down, blend as you add 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil. Blend to your desired consistency. There you go! simple. Pour the paste in an air- tight jar and put in the fridge.

For your hummus (chickpeas plus sesame paste) 

Tahini paste 1/2 cup

I cup of chickpeas that have been soaked for 24-48 hours

1/4 cup olive oil

4 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 cloves garlic

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Method:

Boil the chickpeas with some baking soda until they are soft. drain the water and put them in a blender. Add olive oil, tahini paste, garlic, lemon juice and sea salt. blend until smooth. Add some water until you reach your desired consistency.

Chickpeas which is one of the foods that contain Phytoestrogens is highly encouraged for women going through menopause.  Phytoestrogens are thought to block the body’s uptake of
unhealthy estrogen and where there is a deficiency of estrogen, provide an alternative source.

Sesame seeds are a nutritional powerhouse containing vitamins, minerals, natural oils, and organic compounds which consist of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, zinc, fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate and  protein.

The combination of these two ingredients plus olive oil, garlic and lemon juice, will leave your organs smiling!

Happy cooking!

 

 

 

DRY SKIN BRUSHING; A DAILY SELF-CARE ROUTINE TO EMBRACE

Just like we brush our teeth and hair everyday, so should we brush our skin- our body's largest organ! This is a healthy practice that can be done daily to get rid of toxins and thrive. Dry body brushing helps the skin to eliminate about 25% of the toxins in our bodies and to also remove the dead skin cells giving way to a brighter and glowing skin.

How to do it: Use a brush with soft natural bristles, preferably with a longer handle so as to reach your back. Begin brushing at your feet and work your way slowly up the body with long sweeping motions, ensure you are brushing towards the heart always. When dry brushing the stomach area, it is best to go in a clockwise motion as that works with the natural digestive flow.

Be gentle as you brush, you will notice that the skin may be slightly flushed afterwards but it should not be painful, red or sore. Be sure to avoid brushing over fresh wounds, burns and cuts. The skin should be dry but not excessively dry when brushing. If you shower after brushing, it will help remove exfoliated skin cells. You will immediately notice the smooth skin and glow.

Benefits: It stimulates the lymphatic system and helps with muscle tone. It removes dead skin cells. It makes your skin softer, smoother, and tighter by increasing the flow of blood, and improves circulation, which reduces the appearance of cellulite. It also improves digestion, reduces stress, and energizes your whole body.

Summary:

  • Reduces cellulite
  • exfoliates
  • boosts circulation
  • improves lymph drainage
  • increases release of toxins
  • promotes tighter and glowing skin
  • encourages cell renewal.

Dry skin brushing is a ritual we should embrace everyday. It takes less than 15 minutes and is a great moment where you are completely present and can have that dialogue with your body!

Enjoy!

Raising a healthy generation- How well are we doing?

I had an amazing time this past Saturday with over 20 kids speaking on nutrition. Why did I decide to do the class? Well, I have two school-going daughters aged 10 and 7. I have been getting a lot of feedback regarding the juices and snacks I pack for them to take to school. The others kids love them which means they have to share whatever it is that I have packed.  I decided to investigate what kind of snacks these particular kids take to school and to cut the story short, I decided to sell the idea of a nutrition class to all parents in my circle. The idea was warmly received.

We are in an era where school-aged children are growing at a tremendous rate hence they need healthy, nutritious choices to keep up their energy and optimal growth.

Many parents complain that meal times are fighting times. The kids just don’t want to eat vegetables or greens.  One of the best ways to teach healthy nutrition to a school- aged child is simply to get the child involved. Making the child feel they are part of the process and helping them make good choices can limit the natural fights or arguments that can spring up during mealtimes.

Using a healthy food pyramid (lean protein, grains, dairy, vegetables, fruits, fats & oils and water), get children to help you select menus for the week, go shopping with them and let them assist in meal preparation. E.g kids can assist in cleaning the vegetables, cracking eggs etc.

Apart from eating a healthy balance diet, Children also need physical activity every day. Activity and nutrition must go together in order to ensure your child’s nutritional health. If a child is heavier than they should be, as parents, we should never place a school-aged child on a diet. The best available option for parents is to change the child’s food and/or increase their physical activity. The extra weight can put a child at a greater risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and other issues in the long-term including issues such as low self esteem and sleeping problems.

The 2 main areas of concern with our children that I picked up during the class are fast food and sugar.

The bitter reality is that many kids prefer junk food to fresh and healthy food as they are exposed to so many fast food joints. When I asked the kids what their favorite food was, 80% of the class proudly responded; burgers, pizzas and chips. Most of these foods have a lot of bad fat and salt that can harm the body. A good rule of thumb is that when eating out in restaurants, is to watch the portions- you can split one meal amongst two people. Incorporate salad/ greens to be part of the meal (many outlets now offer healthy options) and then have the kids take milk or water as their beverage. You may skip dessert or order fresh cut fruit slices sprinkled with nuts.

It’s no secret that sugar is a drug. Sugar contributes to weight gain and is the number one cause of obesity in the society today. Here are some of the names used on labels that refer to sugar. Corn Sweetener, Corn Syrup, or corn syrup solids, Dehydrated Cane Juice, Dextrin, Dextrose, Fructose, Fruit Juice Concentrate, Glucose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Lactose, Maltodextrin, Malt syrup, Maltose, Raw sugar, Rice Syrup, Saccharose, Sucrose, Syrup, Treacle, Turbinado Sugar, Xylose. They should all be avoided.

Sugar is also extremely addictive- It brings about feelings of highs and lows in the body similar to what drugs do and the negative side effects are just as bad as drugs, if not worse. You will find sugar in juices, sodas, cereals, bread, pastas, rice and starches. These are the very foods we are serving our kids everyday.

Many children react badly to consumption of sweet foods and drinks especially if eaten alone without other food. A typical reaction is hyperactivity. This does not mean to say your child suffers from a condition such as ADHD, but just that these foods need to be restricted. Sweets are best eaten in small quantities as treats after main meals. Remember fruits are healthy sweets and are a better option for your kids. Once the child stops taking too much sugar, the addiction disappears; if a child is on sugar, they will always crave it. Kids who are overweight or obese drop the weight as soon as they stop taking artificial sugar.

As parents and as a society, we need to re-think our approach to feeding our children. Let’s go back to raw foods as opposed to processed foods- what our grandparents fed us. We never ate from cans or boxes. We picked food from the shamba. Let us involve our kids more when it comes to choosing healthy meals. Let us eat on the table as a family as opposed to eating in front of the TV. Let us get rid of artificial sugar and read labels always. When we do this, we shall help raise a healthy generation.

Here is to a healthy generation!

Healthy Alternative; Almond flour pancakes

Dont we all love pancakes for breakfast and or snack? Pancakes are easier to make plus they taste so good. Unfortunately, pancakes can also be very unhealthy and easily contribute to weight gain unless you choose healthier ingredients like Almond flour, organic eggs and coconut oil as opposed to margarine. Coconut oil has huge benefits including brain and gut health.

Another great way of keeping it healthy is toppings. We tend to use maple syrup which is basically sugar- greatest downfall of pancakes. We can use fruits (healthy sugar) as opposed to syrup and crushed nuts (cashew, almonds) and they give you the same taste if not better. Great choices include berries and apples.

Here is my Almond flour recipe that i use every week. 

Ingredients;

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp raw honey

3 large organic eggs

 ¼ cup coconut or almond milk

 ½ tsp vanilla extract

 ¼ cup sifted almond flour

 ½ tsp lemon juice or white vinegar

 1/8 tsp baking soda

 1/8 tsp sea salt.

Method; Cream together the coconut oil and honey. Add the eggs one at a time. Add coconut milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Add the almond flour. Mix until smooth. Lastly add lemon juice, baking soda and salt. Do not over mix. Use coconut oil to fry.

Enjoy!

 

Fantastic gifts to give this holiday season

Are you looking for impressive gifts for your family, friends or that special someone? 

Here is a list that can guide you- my top 3 Christmas gifts.

1. A journal. This is by far the best gift that i buy myself every year. I love journals and i am sure you will love them too. writing on your journal everyday in the morning and evening is a powerful ritual. You could write what you are grateful for in the Year 2016. What did you learn from it. What new skills, knowledge and strengths did you develop. Then you can sit and visualize the Year 2017, what do you see yourself doing, accomplishing? Dream up your 2017- let it be super amazing!

2. Herbal Tea- Herbal tea is delicious, full of nutrients. and has great health benefits. There are many different types of flavours that your family/friends can enjoy. Peppermint has been known to aid in digestion, Green tea builds your metabolism, star anise tea promotes digestion, Rose tea prevents constipation and Oolong tea controls cholesterol levels. Why not promote someones health by buying different types of herbal tea and have them packed as a gift hamper this holiday season! You can find Herbal tea in any health store.

3. Fresh fruit/ Greens hamper. I love the farm to table concept. Why not have different types of fresh fruits and greens packed in a beautiful basket for your loved ones? This gift idea is unique and considerate as well. Be sure to find out the person's favorite fruits first.

Whatever you choose to give this holiday season, please remember its the thought that counts. Be grateful, forgive, love more, laugh more and always know that you are a remarkable human being!

Happy and blessed holidays

 

Taming allergies- Farm to Table

Farm to table as my friend muthoni would call it, is the only way of ensuring that you and your family are eating whole and nutritious food. 
Get back into the kitchen and make your meals, this is the only way you can identify every single ingredient in your meals and snacks; As we say here at LW, "if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it!" 


How long did each ingredient take to get from the farm to your table? Did it make a pit stop at a factory for processing? Was it made in a factory? Was it packed on a truck for days traveling across the country to get to you? 
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it may not be good enough for your body. Remember, your body deserves real food to serve you better!

I would love to give you a challenge for the Year 2017, how about growing your own veggies and or herbs? I know space may be a challenge for those who live in big cities/ towns but there is a solution to that. Grow them in pots or bags! Start with kale/ spinach they do very well in bags. Incorporate your herbs as well- they look so beautiful in multi colored pots! let the Year 2017 be a great start to revamping your health because you are worth it!

Crispy sweet potato fries- Home recipe

Today the kids asked for (hmmm demanded) for french fries but i politely declined and happily offered to make sweet potato fries using coconut oil instead. I know you are thinking that french fries are a near perfect food and that it would be very hard to improve perfect...right? well, we are talking about sweetness here and yes loads of nutrients and good fat- Vitamin A and Beta Carotene which french fries can never give. When you prepare and serve these crispy sweet potatoes for your kids or yourself, they will feel anything but deprived! 

So here we go...

SERVES 2:

2 Medium sweet potatoes

Coconut oil to fry

Wash and peel the sweet potatoes. Chop them into think "fries" or into wedges- ask your kids for guidance here.

Heat enough coconut oil in a large pan to cover the fries. When the oil is hot, add half of the potatoes to the pan. Fry them for about 7 minutes or until they are done. ensure you remove them before they turn brown as they will crisp up after they are taken out of the hot oil. Serve and enjoy! 

P.S you can sprinkle sea salt or herbs.

Blessings.

 

How to Improve Your Mood with Nutrition

Lately, there are many cases of chronic fatigue and panic disorders being reported. A few months ago, I met a client who shared with me how she had visited countless doctors and tried supplements and medications because her anxiety was so bad at that time. It is a fact that a person’s mood or state of mind can be greatly affected by internal and external factors. External factors such as crazy deadlines at work which cause stress, bad relationships that cause anger or sadness, receiving good news brightens the day and even the weather has a great impact on how we feel. Internal factors contribute immensely to how we feel as well. Our digestion, metabolism and overall body function determines our mood; how we feel from the inside out!

It’s no secret that what we eat greatly impacts our mental, physical and emotional health. The food we eat is our energy/ fuel. And just like a vehicle, we function better with clean fuel.  When we choose a healthy meal containing all the nutrients that the body requires to function better, we feel better, happier and optimistic. A diet containing healthy fats is advisable with protein and non-starchy vegetables providing the bulk of the calories as opposed to refined carbohydrates (sugars), as this will generally help to stabilize moods. On the other hand, when we choose to eat foods containing zero or low nutrients like simple carbohydrates, highly processed foods, we feel sluggish, tired, angry and hungry throughout the day.

As a nutritionist, I highly recommend a high good fat diet with lots of non-starchy veggies and other plant-based foods to my clients as they have been linked to improve moods. Most of the ingredients in these foods contain chemical compounds that have been shown to trigger the release of good-mood neurotransmitters (chemical messengers that help regulate mood) in the brain. Remember you are what you eat, digest and absorb so your digestive system is key and determine how you feel after you eat. Your gut plays a crucial role in digestion, metabolism and mental health. 80% of your immune system is in your gut and 90% of your neurotransmitters are produced in your gut. This is the reason why the gut is often referred to as the second brain because of how it significantly affects your mood and mental state. Therefore, maintaining a healthy gut is crucial for your digestion, overall health and wellbeing!

Licial wellness mood improving morning smoothie

This is my to go to; happy self recipe for the Best Day Ever!

·        1 ripe banana

·        1 tbsp Raw cacao powder (I get mine from the healthy u store)

·        Handful berries (any type that you can get;- I love blueberries and goji berries)

·        Aloe vera- small chunk; you can use aloe juice if you can’t find the plant.

·        Coconut water (Get from your local market. I  get mine from diamond plaza, zucchini Nairobi)

You may add 1 root ginger and Tsbp natural honey. Mix all ingredients and blend until smooth.

 

In conclusion, digestive problems are also on the increase. Compromised digestion has an impact on nutritional status. With age, stress and certain medications e.g. medications for acid reflux bloc necessary stomach acid. Our ability to digest food then declines and so we are unable to absorb as much from our food. This is a great topic for next month. If you have issues indigestion (bloating, wind, belching and stomach pains, then you might have less stomach acid and that can be corrected, please don’t take antacids as this will further block the production of HCL- hydrochloric acid which aids in digestion. Ensure you know what you are treating first!

Enjoy the smoothie and make today the best day ever!

 

Blessings

3 simple and effective Morning Practices

Most of us have morning practices (rituals) that we have followed for years and really do work for us. Some people on the other hand, still struggle with having a morning practice- each morning is different depending on factors like kids, work, and travel etc. in other words, reacting to whatever it is that we have to face. Well, we are all different and I totally respect that. I do not know if you are a certified night owl or a morning person, what I know is that morning hours can be a game changer when we commit to doing 1-5 things that drive us closer to our mission in life- needle movers. I know people who wake up at 4am every day regardless of the environment or the time they went to bed, to either work out, run, meditate, pray etc, simply because the peace and stillness of the morning is unparalleled.  

Research shows that what you do when you first wake up in the morning is a good indicator of not only the quality of the day you’re going to have but by extension it also determines the quality of your entire life. What we do every morning consistently become habits, practices, rituals. The best way to determine what works for you is to be open-minded and try different things that your body, mind and spirit will be happy to commit to. When you feel comfortable and happy waking up to these positive practices then they become rituals that absolutely change your life in just about every way possible.

In wellness, there are many practices that many attest to having changed their life. Here are 3 simple and effective practices that can contribute to your wellbeing.

1.      Drinking water with lemon slices

If there is one thing that health practitioners agree on is drinking water! Water helps to hydrate; helps to kick start our metabolism, flushes out toxins plus many other health benefits. Adding lemon slices, is the game changer. Lemons are packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, B complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Shocking fact…lemons contain more potassium than apples and grapes!

There is a belief that lemons are very acidic and this is true, but inside the body, lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods. Lemon water gives your immune system a boost. Because it is so rich in potassium, it’s great for your heart health, as well as your brain and nerve function. Lemon water aids digestion and cleanses your system by flushing out the toxins. When taken consistently it can hydrate your skin, decrease blemishes, wrinkles, and give radiance.

Lemon water has been shown to reduce inflammation and helps in weight loss as it fights hunger cravings. To help you fully harness the benefits of this ritual, it is recommended to use lukewarm water and wait 20-30 to have breakfast. Start this routine today and you can thank me later.

 2. Gratitude

I call this- Vitamin G, a dose we need every day to remind us that we are truly blessed to be alive this moment, here and NOW. Practicing the art of giving thanks everyday and each moment is essential for us to create a life filled with joyful moments, peace of mind and optimal health.

We have so much to be grateful for, we just need to pause, be still, notice and acknowledge all the beautiful blessings God has bestowed in our lives. As gratitude grows it gives rise to joy. We experience the courage to rejoice in our own good fortune and in the good fortune of others.

What are you grateful for? What a powerful question to ask yourself every morning when you wake up. Think about 5 things that have brought you so much happiness and joy in the last few days, weeks or month. It could be People like family members, friends or colleagues- it could be work- maybe an opportunity or a project that was a huge success, it could be situations- great news you received, a nice place you visited. It could be something big or small.  Take a few minutes every morning to notice and acknowledge.

When we actively search for reasons to be thankful for today and every day, we attract so many more blessings into your lives….Just as it is important to breathe, may you find time to take this daily dose of vitamin G every day, each moment!

 3.  Forgiveness

I call this- Vitamin F. we need this daily dose to be free and at peace with ourselves and God. Forgiveness is never about the other person, it’s always about us. Whatever you wish for the other person you are wishing for yourself. Is there someone that has hurt you in the past and each memory still burdens your heart? You need to start your day feeling free of any hatred or heavy heart. Find it in your heart to forgive this person or situation. Forgiveness is a constant attitude of choosing happiness over hurt. The moment you forgive, you love with all your might.  And when you love like this, a heavenly feeling of healing falls on you. True forgiveness brings you to a place where you can thankfully say, “I'm grateful for that experience, I am better person” and mean it with all your heart.

When we teach the self love and acceptance program, we help individuals release anger and practice forgiveness guided by these words…I fully and freely forgive YOU. I release YOU mentally and spiritually. I completely forgive everything connected with the matter in question. I am free and YOU are free. It is a great feeling! I wish you health, happiness, peace and all life’s blessings. I do this freely, joyfully and lovingly. I feel wonderful!”  You can use your own words, just forgive and let go.

I hope these 3 practices have inspired you to incorporate them in your daily morning routine. May you walk in beauty always!

 

Getting facts right- Autoimmune conditions/ Cancer month

Autoimmunity occurs when our immune system loses tolerance of self and begins attacking our tissues.  In layman language, our antibodies confuse our own body tissue with that of an invader( toxins, infections, stressors and harmful bacteria). One of the worst things about auto immune condition is feeling as if some weirdo has taken over your body. You are trembling, your body aches, panic, sleep issues, brain fog, fatigued and muscle weakness. You feel totally out of control.  If you cannot relate to this feeling, imagine that bad flu you once had. Remember you felt weak, out of breath, no energy, dizzy and exhausted? Now, imagine feeling like that throughout the day, weeks and months!

Think of your immune system as a security team or army. Every time there is danger- bacteria, virus, parasites, the body senses and releases these soldiers to fend off attackers and neutralizes the threat. Our immune system has 2 levels of security. The first line of defense is known as the innate system. The same line of defense that plants, insects and multi-celled organisms have. These soldiers are fast to attack, they don’t keep history of previous attacks so they start a fresh every time there is a threat, rushing off to your defense as if they had never seen them before. The innate immune system works through a mechanism known as acute inflammation (a hot reaction that represents the bodys efforts to fight off infections) Acute means that the inflammation has a time limit as opposed to chronic which is ongoing, persistent response.

Our 2nd line of defense is called the adaptive system.  These soldiers take time to kick into action unlike the innate system that doesn’t learn anything. This system evolved because as human beings we may encounter multiple environments with wide variety of threats. Our adaptive immune system allows our bodies to recognize some of the threats and develop permanent protection against them. A good example is when we have an open wound (bacterial infection), the innate immune system takes care of it by sending a team of killer chemicals to the site of the infection. It creates the acute inflammation ( redness, swelling, heat and pain) which is a process of healing. When we get diseases like measles on the other hand, the adaptive immune system springs into action. It figures out how to give you long term immunity so that you don’t have to face the same problem again. That’s how vaccination works.

The main issue comes when our immune system is put in a position where it has to keep responding to these invaders and threats. We are overworking our security squad and what happens when you are fighting constantly without a rest? The inflammation reaction is supposed to flare up in response to a specific threat, attack, eradicate and then subside so as to give your body a chance to heal and get back to normal. So when the body is constantly facing threats, the inflammation is constant, hence never completely subsides. Your immune system therefore remains on high and permanent alert which makes the inflammation chronic. When you have overworked soldiers (immune system) guarding your gate (body). They are tired and are likely to put your body at risk! The overworked immune system might go rogue and start attacking your own tissue. This is dangerous and can lead to development of autoimmune condition and if you develop one condition, it is highly likely to develop another if the chronic inflammation continues. Our goal should be to have a strong immune system – a state of no inflammation which means your immune system is at rest, it is strong, responsive and ready to do its job.

Conditions associated with chronic inflammation include; back pain, muscle pain, arthritis, cancers of all types, heart diseases, digestive disorders like ulcers, gallstones, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome. Emotional and cognitive disorders like anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, Alzheimer’s, dementia. Hormonal disorders like fibrocystic breasts, fibroid, and endometriosis. Metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity. Respiratory disorders like sinusitis, allergies, asthma. Skin conditions like acne, eczema and rosacea.

Some of the factors that put your immune system on permanent alert are;

1.       Gluten-saturated diets- The type of gluten to which we are exposed is not the same protein our ancestors knew of but a new substance that has turned out to be dangerous to our health

2.       Leaky gut (diet, toxins, stress and medications all contribute to leaky gut, a condition in which your intestinal walls become too permeable. As a result, partially digested food leaks through, ramping up stress on your immune system in many ways and causing other health issues.

3.       The toxic burden- Chemicals in the air that we breathe, water and food has stressed our immune systems to an unprecedented extend.

4.       Our stressful lives- stress has been shown to trigger and intensify autoimmune disorders. We need to learn to manage stress better, take time to rest and heal our bodies.

Myths

We have been led to think that auto immune disorders are genetic, cannot be reversed, and we have to be under medication throughout regardless of the side effects.  Well, studies show that autoimmunity is only 25% heritable, which means 75% is environmental- Lifestyle which is more significant. So diet, gut healing and reducing toxic burden can restore your immune system.

Some of the medications used to treat these autoimmune conditions have huge side effects like depression, acne, allergies, skin cancer high blood pressure, increased blood sugar, anemia, psoriasis, hair loss, anxiety, TB etc. Instead of seeking for only medication that suppress the immune system, research shows that food and supplements together with reducing stress and healing infections can strengthen and support the immune system.

I hope this gives a clear picture of what an autoimmune condition is, while there is no permanent cure of these conditions, autoimmune conditions can be resolved, the symptoms can be treated. And we have the power to choose, so let’s not become prisoners of our genetics. Ultimately if you clean up your diet, eliminate gluten and some of the food culprits that trigger these conditions like grains, heal your gut, eliminate toxins, heal infections and ease stress load, you can defeat this and live an excellent quality of life. Please remember that excessive body fat especially belly fat triggers inflammation.

To your health. 

IS CLEANSING SAFE AND IS IT FOR YOU?

Are you eating the right foods in the right proportions, exercising and you still find it hard to attain your recommended weight? Do you feel tired or experience low energy throughout the day? Do you feel fatigued after meals or experience digestive issues like gas/bloating? Do you have food cravings and have less than 2 bowel movements on an average day? If you answered yes to these questions, then your metabolism has slowed down- Your body’s ability to metabolize fat is clogged and needs revving up!

You can increase your metabolism by eating whole foods as opposed to processed foods. Processed foods have a lot of chemicals (toxins) and we are not able to digest these foreign chemicals so with nowhere else for them to go, they end up getting stuck in our vital organs, and overwhelming our bodies.

The other way is to deal with toxic overload in our bodies. Toxic overload occurs when our bodies have absorbed so many chemicals that our organs like the liver cannot perform the necessary functions to burn fat. So no matter how healthy we eat and how much we exercise, the body is unable to process food, eliminate waste, balance blood sugar and metabolize fats because of the toxins.

The only way to remove these toxins is through cleansing. Unfortunately, “cleanse” has become one of the most popular and abused "word" these days. Many are doing it the wrong way and end up causing more harm than good. On the other hand, there are actually a lot of great benefits to cleansing the right way.

The healthy guideline is to;

 1. Cleanse with foods- no pills and no liquids.

2. Say NO to starvation. One of the reasons these cleanses are damaging to our bodies is that they are based on pushing our bodies into "starvation mode," requiring that you do not eat solid foods. The truth is that when you don't give your body food to perform optimally (fuel), it responds by storing fat as a survival mechanism to keep you alive. Not only is this a health danger, but as soon as you have your first bite of something solid, healthy or not, you instantly gain the weight back that you had "lost," if not more! Beats the purpose if you ask me!

A good cleanse programme should dramatically decrease the amount of inflammation inside your body, clear your intestines of unreleased waste and flush toxins from all of your organs. It should embrace whole foods, last no more than 10 days (9 days preferably) and should follow these 3 steps.

STEP 1- Prepare your body

This body preparation step sets you up for success by slowly removing inflammatory and acidic foods e.g. wheat, corn, red meat, dairy, drugs (remember to listen to your body)

STEP 2- The meal plans “cleanse”- Eat delicious whole, toxin-fighting foods 4 times a day that easily cleanse your body of the chemicals. The meal plans should contain all the nutrients including protein and good fat.

Step 3- After the cleanse-Move forward from “the cleanse” with the right fat-burning foods you need to set yourself up for continued well functioning body or weight loss success.

Remember it’s a great idea to regularly clear the toxins from your body, regardless of how healthy you eat, so as to keep your body functioning at its best. Cleanses are recommended ever 3 or 4 times a year. It is important you get these cleanse meal plans from a certified nutritionist or dietitian.

Here is to a functional toxin-free body!

P.S After months of research and testing, we have a 9-Day cleanse that is super effective. Check for details- work with me page.

Blessings

DISCOVERING YOUR INNER POWER IN SILENCE

Have you realized that in such a fast paced world, we rarely take time to breathe deeply, to have a “me” moment, to laugh out at a silly joke, to call a friend and check up on them? With such a busy environment,do you realize that we often don’t have time to rest, go quiet and tap into our inner power?

Well, you are not alone. Most of us resonate; we are struggling to have that balance, seeking that happiness. Some of us are overwhelmed with so much information as we look for answers to face this life struggle. I have been there too so I understand.

On the other hand, have you also realized that the moment we take time out and focus on ourselves, get a massage done, exercise, eat well, take time out and just sit quietly and focus on our breathe for just a few minutes, There is a shift! Do you realize you are much happier, focused and a better person to be around?

Discovering your inner power in silence is a journey of self discovery- you will discover what makes you calm/ at ease what to eat for that sustained energy, what exercise routine works for you such that it becomes a lifestyle and not work. If you are looking to shed a few kilos then this will happen as well as you discover foods that boost your metabolism.

The most exciting part about this course is the option of attending the 3 days silent retreat which I call- slowing down time session. In life where there are so many distractions, we end up missing THE MOMENTS...

When was the last time you went out of town, to a serene environment with no distractions, so peaceful that you could hear the birds singing? Ever attempted to have your phone switched off for 3 days and not engaged with any electronic device (digital detox)? Ever been in silence for 3 full days, and just focused on your thoughts, feelings, just you. When was the last time you had delicious and healthy vegetarian meals prepared to give you just the energy you require and boost your metabolism as well? That’s what this programme is about. It helps you to be able to focus your attention on what is most important to you. It gives you that clarity from feeling centered and calm. You will find peace of mind and you will experience feelings of inspiration, meaning and purpose derived from the peaceful environment, inside out. You will experience a great sense of well-being!

Would you like to attend a silent retreat and discover your inner power, heal, rest or do nothing without anyone judging you? check our events page for the next one.

Blessings.

SUPER ANTIOXIDANT SALAD

A few days ago on a lunch date with my two daughters, I was really hungry but I didn't feel like eating anything heavy as we were going to walk the entire afternoon. I needed something light but filling, food that would set me into great moods, give me energy and make me happy! So I came across this beautiful and healthy salad, it was divine- my heart was happy!  So I decided to make a salad similar to the one i had with a lemon/ blueberry vinaigrette.

So here we go...

Salad- A delicious blend of salad greens- spinach, kale, Avocado, Broccoli, Grapes, Roasted pear, Blueberries, sliced onion, sunflower seeds and Almonds. Layer all the ingredients on a bowl.

Lemon/ Blueberry Vinaigrette- 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup blueberries, juice from 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon sesame seeds and a pinch of salt and black pepper. Blend olive oil, vinegar, blueberries, and lemon juice together in a blender until smooth. Add sesame seeds, salt and vinegar, stir to combine.

Enjoy!

 

 

Gut Healing Bone Broth

Ingredients; 

1/4 kg bones (marrow bones or chicken bones)

2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

 1 teaspoon sea salt

2 garlic cloves minced

8 cups water

chopped carrots, celery, onions.

Method; Put the bones in a slow cooker with vinegar, sea salt, garlic, water and the vegetables. Ensure the water covers the bones. cook on low for 24 hours. The broth can be taken after 8 hours of cooking but we recommend cooking for 24 hours. When the broth is ready, use a fine-mesh strainer to skim off the fat. Enjoy!

Nutrition and Menopause

 

Menopause! Yes, it is real (you are going through it, headed there or know someone who is) and it is one of the most trying stages in our lives if not managed well. I must say I am privileged to be helping a few of my clients who are going through menopause. It has been a different experience with each of them and working together to find what works with each of them has been a great blessing. They have taught me a lot about honoring this journey.

For women, menopause raises a number of health issues. For one thing, there are many women who suffer severe symptoms including hot flushes and mood swings. Weight gain can also be a significant problem for women going through menopause. In addition to dealing with a slowing metabolic rate, women can also find themselves gaining weight as a result of stress. Losing weight at this stage becomes such a stressful process as it never seems to “get off”

When stressed, it is highly likely for food to become a comforter. By far the best way to deal with menopause is to maintain a healthy diet and to exercise regularly, whether or not the symptoms are severe and weight gain is a significant issue.

Because of the changes the body is experiencing it is particularly important to control what we eat, less calories serve our bodies better. A slowing metabolic rate means that energy is being burned less quickly, so women need fewer calories at this stage in their life. Women need to ensure the proper intake of vitamins and minerals, drink plenty of water and consume plenty of fiber. A good amount of fruits and vegetables are a great source of these nutrients.

To stabilize moods (which seem to be all over the place during menopause) a diet containing healthy fats is also advisable with plenty of protein and non-starchy vegetables providing the bulk of the calories as opposed to refined carbohydrates (simple sugars). Less intake of simple sugars help to improve mood swings and night sweats as there is a blood glucose balance. These include candies and cookies, sugary cereals, refined grains like bread, soda and sugary drinks etc…they are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream as they contain no fiber and can create a “sugar rush”; a short-lived high-energy feeling that is shortly followed by a “crash”. The crash is a lack of energy brought on by the rapid pace with which simple sugars are processed within the body, leaving the blood stream as fast as they entered it. This can have health consequences, as foods that contain simple sugars often lack nutritional value and are very high in calories- this does not serve our bodies at all.

Many women find their tolerance of alcohol is diminished at this time. This may be due to the extra work that the liver and other organs are carrying out due to hormonal changes. If you are constantly on processed foods, your liver can become overwhelmed. Remember your liver also helps you burn body fat so if it is kept busy cleaning out toxins, it has no time to get rid of your unwanted fat!

Nutritional experts often advise women to eat more foods containing phytoestrogens (Phyto- is from the Greek phyton meaning plant. A phytoestrogen is a naturally-occurring plant nutrient that exerts an estrogen-like action on the body).  These include soy, lentils, flax seeds, whole grains, chickpeas and herbs. Phytoestrogens are thought to block the body’s uptake of unhealthy estrogens and where there is a deficiency of estrogen, provide an alternative source.

Other common issues are thyroid problems. Many women report symptoms of mild hypothyroidism at this stage in life. These include, weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss and increased susceptibility to cold.

Some of the most important tests to be done during menopause include; hypothyroidism, vitamins and mineral tests to detect deficiencies before supplementing.

Menopause affects women differently. There are some who actually never face any complications. Do you have any concerns about irregular periods, mood swings, night sweats or hot flashes…? Please talk with your doctor. You may need to undergo the tests mentioned above so as to properly diagnose the issue at hand.

By the way, it has been said that women tend to undergo menopause at an age similar to that of their mothers! When is the last time you called mum...? NOW is a good time!

 Blessings!

 

 

Breathe...just Breathe!

No one in our time finds it surprising if a man gives careful daily attention to his body, but people would be outraged if he gave the same attention to his soul- Aleksander Solzhenitsyn

When was the last time you noticed yourself breathing? A conscious focus on breathing is a great way to introduce pauses into your daily life, it bring you back into the moment. It helps you become aware when you are holding or constricting your breathe and can be a great source of instant relaxation.

Stress Relief

Okay, let’s be real, most people aren’t breathing too easy these days, with all of the negative talk about the economy, sleep deprivation and burnout- All these factors undermine our health big time!  We have opted to sacrifice our bodies and minds to work long hours in order to make more money which has attracted stress, high divorce rates and self medication. Speaking of which, deep breathing if done properly can actually help you reduce stress and anxiety.

Deep breathing provides many benefits, like: Improved digestion, improved circulation, increased intuition and creativity, decreased stress, anxiety and depression, regulating heart rate, blood pressure and the nervous system, higher energy levels, and easier weight loss.

This is because deep breathing brings more oxygen to the blood, and transports carbon dioxide waste from the blood more thoroughly. This helps the heart pump richly oxygenated blood throughout the entire body. This in turn nourishes all cells and helps remove their waste products more efficiently.

Most of us engage in shallow breathing. In other words, our lungs don’t expand very full when we inhale and exhale. Also, we tend to breathe upward instead of outward. This is dangerous as it moves tension upward into shoulders, which are oftentimes already tight from everyday stress. Next time you visit the massage parlor, you will notice that the masseur/ masseuse takes more time massaging your shoulders because the tension in this area is normally too much. Anyone hunched over at their computers reading this? Hmmmm….

How to Breathe Deeply

Here’s how to breathe deeply: Inhale deeply while pushing your belly outward; don’t let your shoulders scrunch upward. You may try placing your hand on your stomach so you can feel your breath as it expands. Let your lungs fully expand outward, and imagine oxygen reaching the very bottom of your lungs. Exhale completely, pressing your belly inward; imagine pressing all the air out of the bottom of your lungs.  

The great news is that you actually have the ability to help control stress, anxiety and many other symptoms by implementing distressing and relaxation techniques like deep breathing. If you practice this for just three minutes, you will immediately notice improved blood circulation, a slowing of your heart rate and a general sense of calm. Once you mindfully practice deep breathing over a period of time, it will naturally become the way you breathe. Awesome!

Being present

Take deep breathes and notice the rhythm of your inhalation and exhalation for fifteen seconds whenever you feel tense, overwhelmed or distracted. This allows you to relax and become fully present in the moment and in your life. This also helps you give attention to the people that matter the most!

Practice this effortless technique and you will soon start experiencing a great sense of well-being!

Here is to breathing, just breathe!

Blessings!