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!

 

3- PARTY SURVIVAL STRATEGIES

 

Wedding season is coming up…and yes those birthday parties we have to attend lest we are kicked out of family circles! My favourite part in all the celebrations is spending time with family and friends especially people I may not have seen in a long time. Catching up with the latest family gossip and events that happened in the past year makes me so happy. That’s the good part.

What I am not so happy with is the kind of food that is served sometimes. And yes, we get to experience those “friends” who push us to eat the junk food by taking us on a guilty trip “"Oh, just have a coke. It's a party, for goodness' sake and auntie really went out of her way to buy all these stuff and to make this food” I am sure you can relate. Here is what I feel- we should all treat ourselves to whatever tasty food we like as long as we are conscious about it.  Going on an all-out spree in the name of “it’s a party” is just going to end up with having you feel awful in the long run.

So since these party invites will keep coming and we have no choice but to attend, how can we get through them effectively and keep off the "junk-food pushers" and all those who are too quick to judge us?

Here are my 3 party survival strategies you could use;

 Eat before you go to the party. This one is my favorite- I use it for wedding occasions especially if I am attending with my kids. I eat a healthy meal that contains a good balance of carbs, fiber, protein, water and healthy fats as this keeps you full and satisfied for hours. This strategy is so effective in that when you are ushered to the long buffet, you end up keeping it light and enjoying the conversations and interactions more.

 Drink enough water. Ensure you take enough water before heading to the party and during the party. This also works when you have planned to eat out at a restaurant, visiting a relative or when you're not the one preparing the food, you might be overindulging without even knowing it. Drinking water before meals not only hydrates your body, but also fills your stomach and keeps off unnecessary calories.

 Be mentally prepared to work it out the next day- It’s never that serious and yes sometimes we overindulge especially when the company is too good! You ate too much cake or poured too much cream on your tea…its ok, it is not the end of the world- this shouldn’t dictate the rest of your week. The next important step is to get right back on your plan and start healthy the next day. Your healthy journey should be an enjoyable one- clean and healthy and not a do or die plan. The ability to “get back on your healthy eating plan is what’s important

 

To your health!

 

Oregano- Natural remedy for many common health problems.

The word Oregano in Greek means joy of the mountains. And just as the name suggests, it brings joy and relief to you and your body!

Oregano has proven to be a super "functional food." This herb is one of the foundation bases of healthy Mediterranean diet in addition to the well known olive oil, fish, herbs and vegetables. It has been used in the Mexican cuisine since ancient times- pizzas, meat and chicken dishes.

You can use this herb to prepare soups, omelet, sauce, meat dishes and as a seasoning to enhance food flavor. I use freshly chopped oregano in my fruit and green salad. It is an excellent source of vitamins like vitamin E, A and C. It also contains essential minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, boron, Niacin and copper.

 What makes Oregano so popular besides its nutritional value is that the leaves and flowering stem have been found to carry anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, antispasmodic and antiviral properties.

Oregano decoction is taken by mouth for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fever, indigestion, stomach upsets, and painful menstruation.

 Two simple ways to use Oregano.

For menstrual cramps- simply chew some fresh oregano leaves three times a day. This is a great pain reliever.

To clear blocked throat and nose-, add two or three drops of oregano essential oil(you can get this from any health store) to one-half cup of boiling water  in a pail and cover your head with a towel so as to inhale the vapor coming off the mixture. Do this twice daily. Lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils can work as well.

There are many other ways to use Oregano (dry or fresh) - it is a natural remedy for many common health problems, try it today!

 

To a healthier you!

 

Health benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices derived from the bark of three evergreen trees belonging to the Lauraceae family. The bark from the trees contains essential oils that penetrate three active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, plus a wide range of other volatile substances. Cinnamon’s distinctive health benefits are drawn from the tremendous rate of antioxidant activity and anti-bacterial properties stemming from the essential oils. The benefits are endless by just adding a pinch, stick, or capsule of cinnamon to your everyday foods. Knowing cinnamon has been around since biblical times many remedies have developed.

 Cinnamon’s healing effect

Recent studies in a respected diabetes journal linked adding ground cinnamon to your meal or two capsules daily helped reduce blood sugar, LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), and increased natural levels of insulin in patients with type 2 diabetes. Also, for anyone trying to lose weight can benefit from lowering their blood sugar levels and fight off hunger with cinnamon. Try it with peaches, sweet potatoes, apples, or you can even sprinkle it on your cottage cheese.

Fight the common cold with just two ingredients, cinnamon and water. Just add one cinnamon stick to two cups boiling water, remove stick, pour in cup, relax and sip. If you would like more flavor then add your hot cinnamon water to a cup of green tea and enjoy! You can have this remedy cold too, just soak two-three sticks in cold water for about three hours and sip. These two brilliant drinks will defiantly sooth that itchy throat and annoying cough that your cough drops can’t even control.

Toothaches can be complete torture for many, and the painful throbbing persistent aching can be treated effectively with this home remedy. For those willing to try, simply add one teaspoon of cinnamon to five teaspoons of honey to make a pain-relieving paste. Applying the paste directly on the affected tooth 2 to 3 times daily will be the most beneficial.

 Rough, cracked, itchy, tired feet are very common, especially in the cold and dry months. Keep your feet smooth, fresh and energized by adding 2 tablespoons of cinnamon to your current foot treatment, soak for 15 minutes, and feel better about showing off those tootsies.

 Better Brain with Cinnamon?

 Yes! The energizing scent of cinnamon acts as a brain stimulant, a memory pick-me-up, and tension reliever. Studies conducted and in progress, have proved that this brain boosting spice will improve test anxiety, alertness, and memory loss in the elderly.

Cinnamon doesn’t stop there.

 Try it to help these common problems:

 Nausea

Diarrhea

Menstrual Pains

Vitality

Blood Circulation

Indigestion

Arthritis

Headaches

Breathe Freshener

Perfumes

Breastfeeding

 You can buy cinnamon in four forms: ground, sticks, capsules, or oil. Cinnamon oil may lead to irritations and allergic reactions, so it is not strongly recommended. Capsules are easier to measure and great for those preferring not to taste the spice. Also, cinnamon sticks last up to one year, and ground last about six months. So, if you thought cinnamon is just for your apple cider, pumpkin pie, or the well-known cinnamon roll, think again. This spice is like finding a pot of gold at the end of the grocery aisle. 

Great reasons to get yourself cinnamon today!

CHIA SEEDS- TONS OF GOOD NUTRITION

I recently ordered Chia seed &green apple power smoothie for lunch at the Joburg airport and I totally loved it- thank you Mugg and Bean!

I was immediately inspired to write more about these tiny yet powerful seeds and the healthy ways to use them.

Chia seeds are full of dietary fiber, complete protein; contain more Omega 3 than salmon and antioxidants power higher than blueberries. They are non-perishable, fairly affordable and they give you so much energy!

My old time favorite- Water with lemon slices and chia seeds- I am totally addicted to this one, I  prepare it in the morning, pour into my gym water bottle and sip it throughout the day- To prepare: water with lemon slices, then add a table spoon of chia seeds. - Great source of energy!

Smoothies- Add the chia seeds to your favourite smoothie. The Green Apple/ chia seeds smoothie is now on my favourite list. To prepare; Blend 1 green apple, 1 tbs honey, 1 tbs lemon juice, 1 teaspoon chia seeds and 1 cup of natural Greek yoghurt.  Power smoothie!

Food- Add the seeds to your pudding, when baking and you can also add some crunch to yoghurt or oatmeal by sprinkling on chia seeds. 

 Beauty Routine- Last but not least….we all love super foods that can also be used as beauty products.  Chia seeds like coconut oil can be used on our skin! These seeds can be used to exfoliate leaving your skin feeling smooth and looking brighter. To prepare: mix 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon chia seeds put the mixture into a jar and you can refrigerate for 3-5 days. To use, dampen face and apply scrub in a circular motion. Allow the mixture to set for two minutes then rinse. Splash cold water on your face when you are done!

 If you are a DIY, go ahead and try number 4.

To a healthier and happier You!

YOU ARE ENOUGH

Last week I attended a 4 day life changing seminar. I did set an intention to attend personal development seminars- at least twice in a year. This particular one was for experts and it was interestingly different. I experienced many aha moments and I would love to share the 1 thing that stood out for me, my moment of awakening, and this is it…. YOU ARE ENOUGH, yes that’s right, we are enough! The idea that we need so much outside ourselves is just lame.

I know most of us are struggling, and its ok, we just have to honour the journey and the struggle. However some of us have resulted in playing small, less expressive, more quieter and less YOU. We might have tried different things in our quest to find that passion, that one thing you are good at and in the process lost ourselves! We live in a world where if we fail at something, that’s it; we are not encouraged to try again by others and by ourselves. Our enthusiasm dies.  We look at the people who are doing better than we are and instead of blessing them and learning from them; we curse them and conclude that God favoured them.

Do you know what the most disappointing bit is? When we accomplish something big or when opportunities present themselves, our subconscious mind says no because we don’t feel we deserve them. We believe that because we have failed in the past, we cannot have these beautiful opportunities that those channels are meant for others- “the most accomplished” a certain class of people. Instead of asking ourselves “what would you have me learn from this mistake, this failure, this temporal obstacle” We settle for less, and sadly we conform to this obnoxious belief. That is why we have a society that plays safe. Ask a child these days what sport they are involved in, they will tell you of only one or a maximum of 2- why? Because that’s where their talent lies, they have to focus on what they are good at, so they never get to challenge themselves by getting involved in other sports. Sadly the same belief has been adopted in the classroom. The world has no variety anymore and we feel this is ok.

We have failed to accept that this “culture” is not you. You can choose to have life happen to you or happen for you. The decision lies solely on you. We need to rise from this rubbish rules and become myth busters- start questioning everything as Steve Jobs puts it in the quote below.

“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, and you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again- Steve jobs.

The message from the seminar was profound. You are enough! I know it sounds simple and common sense to some of us...But is common sense common practice? What is the one thing you have wanted to do for the longest time but you either got discouraged, afraid or procrastination took over. The event had over 800 people and we all seemed to struggle with different issues- personal and business. The 50 people I met all shared with me their struggles and projects that have not been executed for so long- Writing a book, finishing school programmes, becoming an entrepreneur, launching a product, teaching, starting over, walking away from toxic relationships losing weight, self love etc. You probably can relate to some of these struggles. Guess what… you are not alone. Many of us are right there with you, working hard to feel better, wanting to think more clearly, and get our lives back on track.

Here is the good news. It is doable. It has been done. Out of the 800 people that attended the event most of us left charged, alive again. We left the seminar with an 18 month action plan, a deadline for each project but most of all much happier and eager to get into the game! Do you have that one thing you want to accomplish, that one project you would love to launch, that action you would like to take because it will give you happiness, playing at full speed as opposed to playing small? Here are 2 facts that will push you to start right away…

1.      If you have a passion of doing whatever it is you have wanted to do, it’s a calling. The universe saw a void in the world, gave you that idea, that mission and guess what, no one else can accomplish it apart from you. That’s a huge responsibility and you owe it to your maker to accomplish it. The moment we start, we get immediate relief. When the pressure is on you, start and start now. You will feel at ease, better and happier. Now I know there are many things in the world that can give us happiness- temporally. The happiness I am describing here comes with a lot of fulfillment, abundance and long lasting positive effects.

So go ahead and listen to that inner voice, you are enough and this is your mission here on earth and yes, no one else will do it, the gap is waiting to be filled…by you! Will you stand in the gap?

2.      You are probably wondering where to start. The answers lie within you. I know it sounds cliché but it is as simple as that. Get into the game. You need to give yourself permission to start that project- it’s nothing but an inner game. You have the key to open that mission gate on your hands and you know it. Our emotions (behavior) flow from our thoughts it has been proven. We ought to tell ourselves that we can do it, feed our minds with positive thoughts and eventually our emotions follow. We are what we think. This is life’s biggest lesson, some of us peg it on science and research, I peg it on life experience. The power of focus is real and it is within us. And guess what, there is more…when you start, and put in a lot of love to it, the universe conspires and supports you to succeed. Yes He’s got your back, how amazing!

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world- Marianne Williamson

So give yourself permission to direct your thoughts to this one thing you want to do, your mission and just start!

So there you go the 2 proven facts that will not only give your life a deeper meaning BUT also give you so much happiness and fulfillment- The big enough WHY you are still alive today. The moment you tap into this inner power and stop waiting for approval you will start experiencing a great sense of well-being.

So here is to playing at full speed and being enough!

I have shared all this with a loving and open heart; I pray and hope you will receive it with an open mind.

 

Blessings

 

 

Sunshine =Vitamin D

This fact might shock you...with such a high exposure of the sun in Africa, would you believe that a high percentage of the people have vitamin D deficiency? Here is another scary fact-Those who are overweight have an even greater chance to be deficient! I will explain the reason why shortly, so stay with me. Sadly, this Vitamin D deficiency is linked with increased risks of developing common cancers, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and various infectious diseases, too. Ladies and gentlemen, the importance of this vitamin cannot be ignored. Let us first understand what vitamins are in general and their role in our bodies.

The main vitamins that the body needs are A, B group, C, D, E and K. Vitamins occur naturally in all living things, and are therefore organic. Their role within the body is to:

·         Regulate certain bodily functions

·          Help in the building of body tissues, bones and blood

·         Help the body metabolize fats, carbohydrates and proteins which enables the body to obtain energy from the food we eat

There are two kinds of vitamins:

·         Fat soluble vitamins

·         Water soluble vitamins

Now back to Vitamin D which is a fat soluble vitamin and is stored in the liver and fatty tissues. If the body has more of a fat soluble vitamin than it needs at any one time, the vitamin can be stored in the body fat and the liver for use when it is needed at a later date. Here is the reason why obese people have a high deficiency in vitamin D. This is solely because Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, which means that increased body fat has the ability to absorb Vitamin D and keep it from being used within our body. So if you are obese, this fact alone should tell you that it’s a high time you dropped that body fat

 Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, so it is vital for bone and tooth health. In recent times it has also been found to have a significant role in regulating cell growth, supporting immune function and the production of insulin. It is also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ as the most common and natural source of vitamin D is sunlight.

 Many of us assume that the best way to acquire Vitamin D is through nutrition- drinking milk, eating fish, or even taking supplements like cod liver oil. However, direct exposure to the sun is actually the best way to absorb Vitamin D. People at risk from a vitamin D deficiency include those who do not go outside very much, or cover most of their body with clothing while they are outside. I am aware that many women (me included) wear sunscreen when they go for walks in the morning and/or afternoon because they fear the effects of direct sunlight on their beautiful skin. If you really have to wear sunscreen on your face and hands, then ensure your limps are exposed so as to absorb enough sunlight.  

 The other category of people at risk from a vitamin D deficiency is those who restrict their diet not to include liver or oily fish. (Be aware that too much liver can result in an overdose of vitamin A.) In children, a deficiency in vitamin D can result in rickets (soft bones) due to the lack of calcium absorption in the body. In adults, vitamin D deficiency may contribute to osteomalacia, which can lead to Osteoporosis (fragile and brittle bones from loss of tissue)

 How much vitamin D does the body require you may ask? There is contention amongst Experts regarding the recommended intake levels and blood serum levels. However, the RNI(Reference Nutrient Intake) is around 0.01mg/day or 400IU (International Units), others say  600IU/day.  There is no way to know the exact amount that’s best for you without a blood test and that’s why I highly recommend you get tested. When you visit the doctor, please request for the 25-hydroxoyvitamin D test done, sometimes also referred to as the 25-OH vitamin D test-it is the most accurate blood test to measure how much vitamin D is in your body.

 When your doctor performs a blood test and gives you the results for your Vitamin D levels, keep these numbers in mind:

·         50+ equals a good level of Vitamin D

·         30-50 means that you will want to be supplementing Vitamin D, working on spending more time in the sun and adding in Vitamin D rich foods to your diet.

·         Less than 30 means that you are very deficient and you will definitely want to take immediate action to bring those levels up!

 I hope you now know how important this vitamin is and if you are obese, I wish you all the best as you shed off that body fat- let us know if you need any tips.

 Here is great tip you can use to know if the sun is creating Vitamin D in your skin: look at your shadow when outside and if you see that it’s shorter than you are; this means that the sun is high enough in the sky and strong enough to convert Vitamin D in your skin!

 Goodbye indoors, hallo outdoors!

 Blessings

Every Body is Unique

 Did you know that no one fingerprint is alike? This fact still amazes me- that no one in the entire world will ever share my same fingerprint. Our fingerprint is our identification, our unique marking, our signature!

Just as your fingerprint is one of a kind, so is the rest of you. No one thinks exactly like you, no one talks exactly like you, and no one is you! Even if you have an identical twin, you are still an individual with an incomparable mind, body and soul. This one and only you hold the answers to your perfect health. We are constantly reminded that we need to embrace our uniqueness, be yourself because everyone else is taken.

 When it comes to your health and eating, it’s easy to forget that you are a unique being. In your quest for the perfect, flawless body, you assume that the latest fad diet advertised on TV, social media must be the way to a better looking you. Twisted notions come to mind, such as, “If it worked for my friend, Mary, then it will work for me!” and “If my coworker Mark can lose 10 Kgs fast by eating nothing but bananas, so can I!” But when the fruit salad and no carbs diet fails, you are left wondering what went wrong. So you jump on the next diet roller coaster that barrels into the public eye, which will only slow down and confuse your metabolism, especially during menopause. Stop! Don’t blame yourself. There is an answer.

The truth is: There is no one right diet that will work for everyone. Despite all of the dietary information available today – Vegan Is Victorious, Macrobiotic Is Marvelous, Low Carb Conquers, and Raw Food Rules – you remain utterly confused. You are left with only one tool. That tool is your body’s own wisdom. Yes, the answer to what and how to eat lies within you, not on the cover of your favorite health magazine. Each body is unique. You need to understand your own body.

 It’s fascinating to think of everything you learn in your life. When you are young, you learn to wake up on time and arrive at school before the bell rings. You learn to either get good grades or fail. You learn to operate bikes, computers and more. After you graduate, you already know what career path to take so as to live your dream.

But when it comes to your own health, you may never take the time to learn how to operate your own system. It’s your body’s wisdom that will tell you when you are hungry, what you should eat, how much water to drink and for how long you should sleep. You just need to learn to listen to what your body is saying to you.

 You may be wondering, “Why can’t I hear any of this then?” Well, your body speaks to you every day. It whispers to you quietly, though, and if you’re not listening, you may miss it. Somewhere deep inside, as you are craving that chocolate cake, your body is talking to you. Perhaps it’s really saying that you are scared, lonely, tired, depressed, happy, angry or sad, and that what it really needs is some physical touch or a listening ear. But the chocolate cake is easy; it will work to cover up your feelings…until the next craving.

So how can you begin to listen to your body’s inner wisdom in order to achieve your perfect health this New Year? Do you want to reach your ideal weight, feel comfortable in your own skin, balance your hormones or increase your energy? There are four steps to getting in touch with the inner wisdom of your body that will send you on the path to a healthier you.

  Steps to Getting In Touch With Your Body

 1. Slow down, be still and listen – Consider that the world is not as face-paced as you think it is. By changing your belief about the world, your view of it will change. Begin to picture your world as slower and calmer. When you begin to experience stillness throughout your day, your body will thank you. Take a few moments to “be quiet, alone, reflect” during your daily routine. Most people avoid stopping to reflect because they are fearful of what they might discover within themselves. When you step out of your daily routine and take even just a moment for peace, you quiet the endless rant in your head and allow your body’s wisdom to speak up. Pick two times during the day to stop what you are doing, breathe, reflect, and give thanks for your incredible body that breathes, sleeps, and operates each day.

 2. Chew your food – If such a simple step sounds insignificant, think again! If you come to the table in a rush, your body will remain in the stressful state of the fight or flight response. Imagine your body as it tries to digest food, thinking that it is going to fight a war. It’s impossible! Your body will choose to store the food for later. (Huh – so that’s how all of those extra kilos got packed on!) Chewing your food allows your digestive juices to do their job by helping you properly assimilate food and absorb nutrients. And also, chewing your food and experiencing the taste, texture and smell of each bite will lead to a more enjoyable experience. You can be eating the best food money can buy, but if you are disconnected from the process of experiencing your food, you will never be truly satisfied. When you relate with your food in this way, you will be less likely to go looking for something else in the pantry an hour later. At licial wellness, we offer the mindful eating session which helps our clients to become conscious about how, what, when and why you eat. This program aids in weight loss as well.

  3. Eat and listen – Now, this is not your everyday food journal. Keep a log of what you eat everyday and how you feel two hours after eating it. Are you still hungry? Are you too full? Are you satisfied? Is your stomach settled? What are you craving? By listing not only what you are eating but also how it makes you feel, you will begin making a connection to what you eat and how it affects your digestion, your energy levels and your mood. You are learning to turn on your inner radar so that you can listen to what your body is telling you. Most importantly, you will create the mind-body connection that is often missing in today’s dining experience. As a nutritionist, this is exactly how we deal with food allergies and food intolerance cases. We encourage the client to record how they feel after eating any food and slowly we start eliminating the “culprit” foods. Eventually we get to know what the client should avoid in order to feel super healthy. Most of the food “culprits” include gluten, wheat, soy, peanut and dairy.  Nothing explains our uniqueness better than this point.

   4. Honour your body – Start by making your health and your body a priority. Try a new exercise routine, go for a brisk walk, or participate in a pilate class. When you take time for your health and wellbeing, you send positive messages to your body, such as, “I honor you and my health. I am in touch with you, so that you can be in touch with me.” Begin to talk to your body as the home of your soul. Eliminate the negative messages that you subconsciously send to your physical body. Try this exercise: Begin by standing in front of the mirror naked. (Yes, in the buff, that’s right.) Stand there for five minutes and notice what you love about your body now, not what you used to love about it. Then state it out loud. Repeat this several times a week until you feel connected to both your physical and emotional self. Concentrate on your inner beauty and your outer beauty will start to follow suit. I know most of us especially mothers who have gone through a lot of body changes (shape, colour, scars) rarely admire our bodies but we ought to, we have to honour the struggles we have gone through and see the beauty of what has come out of it.

 When you slow down, chew your food, eat and listen, and honor your body, you will reconnect with that inner voice that tells you each day all you need to know about what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. There is no one, single miracle diet that will tell you what your own body needs in order to be happy, fulfilled and healthy. You are your own guide for healthy eating and living. BE YOU, DO YOU…AND YES BE OK WITH IT!

 

Blueberries...Superfood!!!

So i am currently preparing a meal plan for a client and we were looking at fruits to aid in weight loss... thought i would share with you....

The Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are known for their antioxidant powers, but this superfood also offers so much more. They are low in calories too, so you can eat them regularly.

Primary Nutrients
We know these berries are packed with critical antioxidants, but they contain other nutrients that we need as well. They’re also rich in manganese, fibre, vitamin K and vitamin C. Eat a serving of blueberries at least three times per week to really get their health benefits.

Health Benefits
The antioxidants:

- help with repairing damaged tissues
- protect against neuro-degenerative diseases as we age
- help us maintain good blood sugar

This berry also helps with our cardiovascular system. They help to keep our cholesterol levels in balance and help to keep our blood pressure at a safe and healthy number.

Blueberries also help us maintain healthy eyes. This is largely due to their antioxidant properties.

Incorporating Blueberries in Your Diet

You can eat these plain. They often have a tart, but sweet flavor. They can be added to yogurt, cereals and porridge. You can also add them to salads and low-calorie desserts like fat-free frozen yogurt. I buy mine from Nakumatt or chandarana stores- Nairobi. Blessings

Eat the Rainbow

Do you feel stuck in a rut? Are you always eating the same things every day? Variety of food is an important factor in eating. Studies show that increasing variety of fresh, whole foods helps to round out nutrition and ensure that you get a variety of important vitamins and minerals. Maybe you have heard that you should “eat the rainbow”, enjoying one food from each color of the rainbow every day.
Examples of foods from the rainbow:
Red – apples, berries, red peppers
Orange – sweet potatoes, carrots
Yellow – squash, celery
Green – cucumbers, kale, spinach
Blue – blueberries
Purple – berries, eggplant

Antioxidants
By enjoying a rainbow of colors in your diet, you are accomplishing something very important: You are eating an antioxidant rich diet. Antioxidants are natural substances that exist as vitamins, minerals and other compounds in foods. They are believed to prevent disease and aging by fighting free radicals in the body.
What are free radicals? - They form when the body undergoes stress - stress from unhealthy foods, toxins in the environment like cigarette smoke, and even from just ageing, changes in hormones and breathing.
Focusing on antioxidants is great way to stay healthy without jumping on the bandwagon of another fad diet or counting calories until you’re blue in the face. By eating a colorful diet, you will be supplying your body with more power to fight off free radical damage, keeping it younger and healthier for longer.
If you’re finding it difficult to get started, try choosing one or two colors that are usually missing from the food you eat. Focus on eating foods with these colors for the next two weeks, long enough to create a new habit and notice any change you might feel.

Herbs vs. Supermarket Spices.

Herbs have huge benefits for our well being. They Boost flavour in our food/ tea/ water, Herbs are home remedies for ailments like cold, or sore throat and they contain unique anti-oxidants, essential oils and vitamins. How about growing your own herbs? A good pal challenged me (miss wellness) to grow more herbs in my kitchen garden and inspired me to share with you. 

What are the benefits you would ask...?
Before deciding to pick your herbs from the grocery this evening consider these 3 reasons as to why you should grow your own. Freshness, control on what goes into your food and price! yes it is cheaper to grow your own herbs than buying. So i am passing on the challenge to you...get that shamba/ kitchen garden going...To your well-being!

Pairing Foods for Nutrients

You'll get more plant-based iron from black beans if you eat them with foods rich in vitamin C, like red pepper. Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron in our bodies. 

More on beans, why not eat your hummus (Hummus is a Levantine food dip made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic.) with whole wheat bread? Oh, you already do? Good. Because it turns out that you get all the plant-based amino acids you need from the chickpeas and sesame seeds (in the tahini) in the hummus if you combine them with whole wheat bread. This combination is absolutley great... why? It's a complete protein! 

If you really want to take advantage of all the calcium that is in your yogurt, you're going to need some vitamin D. Research shows that calcium absorption depends on having enough vitamin D in your gut. Here is to maximizing your nutrients... Blessings!

Tips for Radiant Skin

As a nutritionist, we are guided by 3 instant indicators that tell us if you are eating healthy; skin, hair and eyes! 

Here are some tips for that radiant beautiful skin…

Water- If you do not drink enough water, your skin will show it. Water is important for all organs, even those we can’t see. Stay hydrated by drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day. If you suffer from dry skin, 90 ounces may be necessary. 

Gamma Linoleic Acid- Evening primrose oil, borage oil and black currant oil all promote skin health and may even help to alleviate some of the other symptoms that come with along with hormone imbalance. Choose one or even use a combination of all three to keep your skin healthy. 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids- Fish, fish oil, flax seed and walnuts are all full of Omega 3s. These essential fatty acids are important for skin health. If you cannot eat 3 servings of coldwater fish per week, consider supplementing with fish oil. Make sure it is of high quality and without mercury

Non-toxic skin care products- Many skin care products, meant to keep skin healthy, actually damage the skin with drying agents and chemicals. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, there is a high likelihood that it is a chemical- trust me on this one! Just as concerning as the foods you eat, so, too are chemicals in skin care products. Some typical skin care ingredients to avoid include: parabens, propylene glycol, and petrolatum. Choose products like Vitamin E oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil or aloe vera, either fresh from the plant or in a product with a high concentration and few added ingredients. Start reading labels good people!

There are many steps you can take to preserve your skin. Small changes can make a big difference for the largest organ of your body, so make sure to take care of it. To a healthy, glowing skin!

Diet Suggestions for Women Trying to Conceive

A balanced diet is vital for women who are trying to conceive. It’s important to get plenty of nutrients and to stay active. 

The idea is to prepare your body for pregnancy. To increase your chances of becoming pregnant, experts recommend an increased intake of foods containing the following:

  • Folic Acid – this is the big one as far as pregnancy and conception are concerned, next to iron. This mineral is important for overall reproductive health but it is also one factor that helps prevent a variety of birth defects such as spina bifida.
  • Iron – the insufficient intake of this mineral is liked to lead to an increased risk of ovulatory infertility.
  • Calcium – this mineral promotes the proper development of healthy bones and teeth in a developing foetus and is therefore a very significant nutritional element.
  • Zinc – the health of your immune system is important prior to, during and after pregnancy. It’s particularly significant during preconception because it also supports the production of healthy eggs.
  • Iodine – without sufficient iodine in the diet, fertility issues may arise. Hormonal problems such as menstrual problems, hormonal cancers and fibrocystic breasts may all result from low iodine.

To get enough of these nutrients, women need to maintain a regular healthy diet. In addition to ensuring that they get enough of the nutrients listed above, women trying to conceive and women who are pregnant should try to avoid eating foods that are high in saturated and trans fats. Fast foods are a major culprit in this.

White flour can also increase the retention of toxins in the body, reducing fertility. Caffeine, alcohol, and fad diets should also be avoided to ensure maximum fertility but also to guard against the risk of birth defects and the possibility of a low birth weight undermining the health of the baby. Here is to getting pregnant…! All the best.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera, commonly called just aloe, produces both a gel and a latex substance. Both of these substances have medicinal purposes. The gel substance is similar to a jelly in consistency and it is clear. You retrieve this from the inside of the plant’s leaves. The latex substance is yellow and you retrieve it from below the skin of the plant. You can use aloe topically by applying it to the skin or you can use it orally, depending on what you are taking it for.

In most cases, aloe is used topically for a number of skin conditions and injuries. Aloe contains a variety of chemical substances that can improve the health of the skin and promote healing. Oral aloe is slightly less common and it is important to note that when you take aloe orally, make sure to take the gel and not the latex form.

How Does Aloe Work?

Scientists are still learning about exactly how aloe works, but when applied topically, it is believed that it actually changes the skin. For example, when used for psoriasis, it changes the skin in a way that improves cell turnover to prevent the buildup of skin that contributes to the characteristic plaques. It also appears to prevent cell death and improve blood circulation. This can promote the faster healing of wounds and other skin issues.
When aloe is applies both topically or taken orally, it has powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties. This makes aloe useful for a variety of infections and other issues related to fungi and bacteria.

Uses for Aloe

The following are the some common uses for aloe (always check with your healthcare provide to make sure it would be appropriate for you to try):

  • Constipation
  • Cold sores
  • Psoriasis
  • Dry socket
  • Burns
  • Dental plaque
  • Diaper rash
  • Dry skin
  • Dandruff

Aloe vera is a very popular natural remedy that may be useful for over two dozen different health complaints. Keeping a fresh aloe plant in your home is a quick and easy way to also have access to fresh aloe when you need it. You can also find it in juice and gel form at health food stores. If you purchase aloe, just make sure to choose an organic or all-natural version so that it has the compounds that provide you with the most health benefits.