Follow Your Heart: How to Spot An Imbalance In Your Heart Chakra

The Chakras are a key component of your yoga practice and each asana gives you a clue as to what your chakras are up to. If Camel Pose makes you want to scream, and Wild Thing has you uttering expletives not fit for the studio floor, you may need to do some work on your heart chakra.

The heart chakra (Anahata Chakra) is actually located just above the heart, and it works to balance the lower three chakras (navel, sacral and root) with the upper three chakras (throat, third eye and crown).This heart is traditionally seen as the balance between the world of the physical and the world of the spirit. Imbalance or blockage of the heart chakra is more common than you might think – have you seen any of these telltale signs?

If you have a blockage in Anahata Chakra, you may experience:

  • Shyness
  • Loneliness
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Finding it hard to forgive
  • Finding it hard to feel empathy

On the other hand, if your heart chakra is overactive, you may notice:

  • dependence on others for fulfilment
  • jealousy
  • high expectations of others
  • harsh judgement of other people
  • needing acceptance of others

And let’s not forget the physical symptoms! A lowered immune system (colds, flus, infections), heart and lung issues (heart palpitations common), poor circulation, high/low blood pressure, and respiratory and breathing difficulties are all symptoms of anahata chakra imbalance.

Eek! I have a blocked/overactive heart chakra! What now?

Sounds serious, but you don’t need to get to the GP for this one. The key to balancing out your chakras lies in food and exercise.

Go green

Green foods instil balance in the heart chakra, so chow down on dark green leafy veggies – think spinach, kale, broccoli, bok choi, seaweed (I’m not joking)… The list goes on! If you’re finding you just can’t face a mountain of the green stuff, whack it in a smoothie and get all the good stuff with none of the fuss. Toss in some green fruit and you’re good to go. Bonus points for eating the skin for extra fibre and adding a superfood suplement (spirulina, chlorella, wheat grass, barley grass, matcha powder, green tea or maca powder).

Herbal remedies

Herbs have amazing healing and medicinal properties – you only have to look at their traditional use in China and India to know that they have incredible health benefits. If you fancy trying your hand at horticulture but the limits of London flat sizes has stopped you, try growing herbs indoors – even if you kill them within the week at least you’ll have a handful or two of lovely fresh herbs! Herbs for the heart include coriander, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, tarragon, rosemary, thyme and chives. If you really don’t have the green thumb for growing your own herbs, invest in some tasty herbal tisanes. A mint tea in the morning instead of the double-espresso-with-a-shot-of-vanilla-and-chocolate-powder is a refreshingly calming alternative.

Sophie Higgins is our in-house nutritional expert. For a consultation on how to open your heart chakra using your diet, email us on info@morefit.co.uk.

4 Ways To Kickstart A Healthy Eating Habit

The sun has finally got his hat on again and we are all starting to feel human once more. What a perfect time to clear out the pantry and refresh your eating habits! These four tips will keep your body functioning at the highest level it should be (and you don’t have to restrict yourself to do it).

Hydration

Water, water, water. We hear about this so often that it’s easy to forget to do it! If you are one of those eople who just doesn’t find a glass of water alluring, try adding lemon slices or mint. If you still can’t stand that, just promise to always have a glass of water before any other drink you have. Drinking enough water is essential for healthy digestive system function, and helps to keep everything moving along as it should. Eliminate waste and toxins from the body efficiently with 1.5 to 2 litres per day, or more if you exercise regularly.

Mindful eating

How many times this week have you shovelled in a sandwich while typing a report and whatsapping your best mate? Guilty! How you eat your food is super important for healthy gut function. Eat slowly, stop eating when you feel full, and avoid eating just before bedtime. Digestion requires a lot of energy, so take small bites, chew until your food is mush, then swallow completely before taking another bite – your digestive system will thank you for a load off!

Go for complex carbohydrates

Dump the white bread and pasta and replace it with the wholegrain alternative. The sugar in that white bread that is oh so addictive wreaks havoc on our gut lining, and can be a major contributor to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the gut. Bloating and digestive issues ahoy! Complex carbohydrates also have a bonus side effect – they keep you fuller for longer, so you won’t be feeling faint by eleven.

Fibre

Remember your mum always forcing Weetabix on you as a kid? There was a reason for it beyond trying to wean you off the sugary cereals of old (Coco Pops, anyone?). Fibre can help your GI tract stay ‘regular’, stabilise blood sugar levels, enhance healthy bowel function, prevent constipation, reduce cholesterol, support cardiovascular health, and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Wow. All this for adding just a few buts of fruit, vegetables, legumes, beans, pulses, and whole grains to your diet.

Interested in kickstarting a healthy eating habit this year? Talk to Sophie Higgins, our in-house nutritional expert, at info@morefit.co.uk!

3 Daily Digestion Habits You Can Start Today

Your body is a miracle machine. Day in, day out, we can rely on our amazing bodies to get us through anything – running around the office with a to-do list as long as your arm, lugging a million shopping bags home or a hardcore Jivamukti class (sometimes all in the same day). But how much attention do you pay to how you’re fuelling this incredible engine?

We are all guilty of snaffling a meal-deal sandwich at our desks or cramming in a Macdonald’s when it just seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day, but bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, irregular stools, lethargy, and lowered energy levels are probably not worth the few minutes you save. After all, that super-high priority must-have-done-by-end-of-play task is going to be a lot harder when you’re feeling sluggish and tired.

Here are three solid changes you can make to get your digestion in order – starting today!

Start the day with a hot water and lemon

So simple, and so good for you. Drinking a hot water with lemon in the morning before breakfast will help to kick-start your digestive system for the day ahead. Lemon juice has the effect of stimulating the liver to produce bile, which helps keep food moving through your gastrointestinal tract smoothly. The acids found in lemon juice also encourage the body to process the nutrients in food more slowly, which helps to keep blood sugar and insulin levels balanced. For those who get bloated among us, this is a life saver!

Have breakfast every day

Make breakfast a priority. It’s easy to make the excuse of not having enough time, but breakfast should be as important as brushing your teeth or getting dressed in the morning. Avoid refined, processed, sugar rich foods, as this will send blood sugar levels and energy rocketing sky high, and then crashing, setting you up for a slow day ahead, and reaching for the biscuits over and over again. Aim for some protein (eggs, lean meat, fish, maybe a scoop of protein powder), healthy fats (salmon, nuts, seeds, avocado, nut butter, chia seeds, coconut oil), and complex carbs (oats, buckwheat, quinoa, fibrous veggies). If you tend to hit the snooze button a little too often, make sure you buy portable breakfasts for those days when you are really in a rush.

Eat a variety of fresh, colourful whole-foods

Ever looked at your plate and seen a sea of beige? Time to switch it up! Try to fill your plate with as many different colours of fresh produce as possible, as it’s often the colour pigments that contain all of the important nutrients that we need for healthy gut function. Eat a rainbow! You’ll be amazed at how much less sluggish you feel after eating once you mix in a bit of colour. Plus it looks way better on Instagram.

Stay tuned for more digestion tips from our in-house nutrition expert Sophie Higgins. Sophie works with our members to help them understand how to nourish their bodies to their full potential. Interested in a little nutrition revolution for yourself? Give us a call and start your journey towards wellbeing.

Top tips on how to stay healthy over the festive season…

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In the lead up to Christmas it’s all too for our minds and bodies to become overwhelmed by all of the indulgence and excess that the holiday period brings with it. However, staying mindful and healthy doesn’t have to be as tricky as we might first think. Christmas is a time for indulgence, relaxing, and celebrating – we all need a bit of time off over the holidays, but with work events and dinners filling up the social calendar, it can be easy to get swept along in the storm, with our health and nutrition goals often following not far behind. But fear not, by following my simple tips below, you can not only enjoy Christmas in all its glory, but stay happy and healthy along the way too – wave goodbye to feelings of guilt and anxiety, and get ready to welcome 2017 with a happy healthy bang!

PLAN AHEAD
Over Xmas we’re often rushing from one place to the next, trying to find last minute presents, or running to the next work or social event, which can mean we end up running to the nearest fast food outlet or supermarket to grab a quick snack. Plan ahead – make sure you’ve always got some healthy snacks on you to avoid reaching for the convenient ‘not so healthy’ option. Homemade energy balls, oatcakes, hummus, carrot/celery sticks and nuts, are all great options that will not only keep blood sugar levels balanced, but that will leave you feeling fuller for longer. Why not try keeping healthy snacks at the office too, and avoid reaching for the Xmas biscuit tin when you’re feeling a bit peckish!

REGULAR EXERCISE
Even though we are all extra busy at this time of year, try to make it a priority to stay on top of your normal exercise routine. This will help your health stay on track over the festive period, and regular exercise will lessen your appetite for sugary, refined foods. If you’re feeling the effects of stress or fatigue over the holidays, why not try some yoga, pilates, tai chi, qigong, or meditation classes.

ALTERNATE DRINKS
I
t can be hard to avoid all of the drinks and dinners during the Christmas period, especially as work and office events begin to take over our social calendars. So to lessen the effects of all this extra alcohol on our bodies, have a glass of water between each drink – this will slow down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, and will help flush the alcohol and toxins from our body. Try to opt for gin or vodka and tonic when choosing drinks, as these contain far fewer calories than wine and cocktails, and adding a slice of lemon and lime will have an alkalising effect on the body.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY NO
It’s so easy to end up saying ‘yes’ to every event that comes our way during the rush and excitement of Christmas, but try not to feel pressured into attending everything. Say yes to the ones that are important to you, and avoid those where you know your health goals may be extremely hard to stick to.

EAT BEFOREHAND
Events where there’s a buffet or finger food can often leave you unsatisfied, going back for more time and time again, as they are often rich in sugar and unhealthy fats. Try eating something before you go – a protein rich salad or light meal, so that you won’t arrive feeling hungry, and won’t be tempted to launch into the inviting spread.

PLAN YOUR COURSES
If you’re going to a sit-down meal with several courses, choose what you’re going to have beforehand – this way you won’t have to order under pressure and fall back on one of the less healthy options. Be wise and ensure you go for something with a nice amount of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs, staying clear of the refined stuff as much as possible.

WISE CHOICES
Make the most of your indulgent foods over the Christmas period. Instead of reaching for foods that you can have at any time of the year, choose foods that have a special Christmas meaning to you. We all like to indulge at this time of year, and that’s absolutely fine, just make sure you really enjoy and savour what you go for.

DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST
Make sure you eat a healthy, balanced breakfast, rich in protein and healthy fats, even if you know you are eating out and indulging later. Eating a nutritious breakfast will help to balance blood sugar levels, and will keep you feeling fuller for longer, making it easier to avoid over-eating later.

LOVE YOUR GUT
Invest in a good probiotic. These are full of good gut bacteria, which help to keep our gut nice and healthy, and will lessen the effects of alcohol and rich food on the digestive system. Topping up with these guys over the holiday season can help to combat bloating and constipation, keeping everything flowing along nicely.

B VITS
Increased alcohol consumption can mean that our levels of B vits can quickly deplete. B vitamins are essential for so many chemical reactions in the body, and are vital for energy production, so when we are lacking in these, we can often feel fatigued, sluggish, and drained. Green leafy veg, brown rice, and oats are great sources, so make sure you’re getting enough in your diet. You can also invest in a B complex supplement if you want to make sure your levels are tip top.

HERBAL TEAS
Try to have a herbal tea after eating big meals, this will help to digest the food and lighten the load on the digestive system. Ginger, fennel, dandelion, peppermint, are all good for helping digestion, and relieving indigestion and bloating. Maybe try having one before dessert, as may lessen your want for something sweet after dinner.

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5 Simple Hearty Soup Recipes

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Now that we are fast approaching the autumn season, it’s time to get thinking about meals that will keep us cosy, warm, and satisfied as the nights begin to draw in. Soups are great if you’re trying to keep the calories down, and you can experiment by using a variety of vegetables, beans, lentils – pretty much anything you like can be thrown in! Why not try making a nutrient dense bone broth to use as the base of your soup – stay tuned for my upcoming bone broth recipe in ‘Food of the Week’, and why not batch cook your favourite soups and store in the freezer, ready for lunches during the week or convenient meals in the evening. These 5 simple yet hearty soup recipes are jam packed with nourishing nutrients, bursting with flavour, and will leave you feeling satisfied with each mouthful! SOUP-ER EASY, SOUP-ER HEALTHY

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SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbspn ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 2 celery sticks (diced)
  • 1 handful fresh parsley (finely chopped) – keep some to serve
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 carrots (cut into small chunks)
  • 1⅓ litres chicken bone broth (homemade or bought)
  • 2 large handfuls cooked roast chicken (shredded)
  • 2 handfuls kale (finely chopped)
  • 2 handfuls cabbage (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbspn juice of a lemon
  • Pinch of sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil (to serve)

Fry the onion in the ghee or coconut oil in a large pot until soft. Add the garlic and celery and cook for a minute, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, parsley stems (finely chopped), broth, and bay leaves, then bring to the boil. Then lower the heat to a medium simmer.

When the carrots soften, add the chicken, the kale and cabbage, and cook for a few minutes. Remove from the heat, season with a good pinch of salt, pepper, and the lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and serve with a pinch of parsley leaves and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. You will be able to see the bay leaves in the soup, so either remove or just avoid eating.

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SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tspn coconut oil or ghee
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 carrots (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup of dry red or green lentils (rinsed)
  • 1 small butternut squash (chopped into small chunks)
  • 1⅓ litres vegetable or chicken broth (homemade or bought)
  • 2 tspns fresh thyme
  • 1 tspn dried basil
  • 1 tspn dried oregano
  • ¼ tspn paprika
  • Black pepper
  • Sea salt or Himalayan salt

Heat the coconut oil or ghee in a large pot, then add the onion, garlic, and carrots, and cook until the onions start to soften. Add the lentils, squash and 1 litre of the broth to the pan. Then add the herbs, paprika, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a medium simmer, and leave for about 30 minutes. Add the remaining broth, and cook for a further 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve with some crusty sourdough or soda bread.

 

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SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbspn coconut oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 stick celery (finely chopped)
  • 1 small red or green chilli (finely chopped)
  • ¼ tspn chilli powder
  • ¼ tspn paprika
  • 2 ½ cups corn kernels (tinned or fresh)
  • 250 ml vegetable or chicken broth (homemade or bought)
  • 100 ml coconut milk
  • Large handful fresh parsley (roughly chopped)
  • Black pepper
  • Sea salt or Himalayan salt

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot, and add the onion, garlic, celery and chilli. Cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the onion and celery begin to soften. Add the chilli powder, paprika, corn kernels, and cook for another 2 minutes, then add the vegetable or chicken broth. Use an immersion blender to roughly blend the soup, so that a chunky consistency remains. Add the coconut milk and a good pinch of salt and pepper, then bring to the boil, and reduce the heat to a low simmer. When the soup is heated all the way through, after about 15-20 minutes, remove from the heat, and serve with a good sprinkling of fresh parsley, and some warm crusty sourdough bread.

 

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SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbspn coconut oil or ghee
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • Thumb-sized piece of ginger (grated)
  • 2 leeks (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cups broccoli (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cups brussel sprouts (trimmed cut into halves)
  • 3 cups spinach
  • ½ tspn ground coriander
  • ½ tspn ground turmeric
  • 1 litre vegetable or chicken broth (homemade or bought)
  • Tspn natural or Greek yoghurt (to serve)
  • Black pepper
  • Sea salt or Himalayan salt

In a large pot, heat the coconut oil or ghee over medium heat. Cook the onion until they begin to soften, then add the garlic and ginger, and cook for a further minute. Add the broccoli, leeks and sprouts, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the coriander, turmeric, broth, and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a medium simmer. Cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables have softened, then stir the spinach through until wilted. Use a food processor or immersion blender to blend the soup. The sickness of the soup completely depends on what you prefer, so blend until it is the right consistency for you. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and why not try adding a teaspoon of natural or Greek yoghurt to finish.

 

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SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS
Broth:

2 large onions (quartered)
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
4-inch piece fresh ginger (sliced)
3 carrots (roughly chopped)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
3 cloves
2 tspn coriander seeds
1 1/3 litres beef broth (homemade or bought)
1 tbspn tamari
1 tbspn fish sauce

Soup ingredients:
225g sirloin steak
225g dried rice noodles
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil (for the noodles)
3 spring onions (finely chopped)
1 small red or green chilli (finely chopped)
1 lime (quartered)
1 cup bean sprouts
½ cup fresh coriander (roughly chopped)
½ cup fresh basil (roughly chopped)
Few mint leaves

Peel the ginger and slice it into strips down its length. Char the onions and ginger by using tongs, and char on all sides over high flame on a gas stove, until they begin to blacken. Rinse them under cool water to remove any bits that are overly charred.

Place the cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and coriander seeds in a large pot and dry-roast over a low-medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently, and until fragrant.

Add the broth, tamari, fish sauce, carrots, and the charred onions and ginger to the pot with the spices.

Bring the broth to a boil over medium heat, then reducing the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, allowing time for all the flavours to infuse.

While the broth is simmering, put the beef on a plate, cover with cling film, and freeze for 10-15 minutes. This will make it easier to slice the beef. When removed from the freezer, immediately slice into thin slices. Then re-cover and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and cook the rice noodles (according to the instructions on the packet). Strain and run under cold water to cool. Toss the noodles with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent them from sticking together.

Place the bean sprouts, spring onions, chilli, lime quarters, and herbs in a serving dish, ready for people to help themselves.

When the broth is ready, strain and remove all the solids. Put the broth back on a low heat and keep simmering gently, but not boiling.

Divide the noodles between serving bowls and top with a single layer of raw beef (a few slices), so that they cook evenly when the broth is added. Ladle the steaming broth into the bowls, pouring evenly over the beef so that it cooks – the beef should start to turn opaque in colour. The amount of broth depends on the preference of each person. Let everyone help themselves to the toppings on the table, and more broth if they wish. Enjoy!

 

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NUTRITION FOR YOGA

Over the years it has become increasingly common in the West to practise vigorous and demanding styles of yoga, and even to practise in the heat, with styles such as Bikram taking the yoga world by storm. Even though the benefits of such yoga disciplines are unquestionable, it is still important to look after your body to ensure it is getting everything it needs to stay in tip top condition. Get the best out of you and your yoga practice by following these 5 simple tips:

  1. Antioxidants – when engaging in a yoga practice, or any kind of exercise for that matter, it is important to keep antioxidant levels topped up. Things called free radicals can be produced inside the body when physical strain or stress is experienced, and can cause damage quickly if not stopped by antioxidants, which have a neutralizing effect on these nasties. Two of the most important antioxidants are vitamin E and vitamin C, as they act as free radical scavengers, so make sure you are eating foods rich in these two vitamins to stay protected. Dark green leafy veg, berries, nuts, peppers, and cruciferous veg such as broccoli and cauliflower, are all packed with a variety of amazing antioxidants.
  1. Stay Hydrated – we lose water through our breath and our sweat when we engage in physical exercise, so making sure we keep water levels topped up is crucial. Water helps our body to exercise effectively, meaning not only performance will be better when we are hydrated, but recovery will also be extra efficient, as tissues will heal more quickly. The amount of water needed by the body varies from person to person, but aim to drink about 2 litres per day, slightly more if your yoga practice (or exercise regime) is physically demanding. Try adding an electrolyte powder or drops to water to ensure any electrolytes lost through sweat are replenished.
  1. Vitamin D – bone health is super important, especially when we practise yoga or exercise regularly. Vitamin D helps yours body absorb calcium and keep your bones strong and healthy, so it is vital to make sure you are getting enough, especially when we live in a climate with very little sunshine! Mushrooms, oily fish, and eggs all contain high levels of vitamin D. If you think you may be deficient in the sunshine vitamin, which quite a lot of us are, a vitamin D test by your GP will tell you exactly what your levels are, and what they should be. By keeping vitamin D levels up, you’ll also be giving your immune system an extra turbo boost – essential for fighting off any colds or infections.
  1. Protein – protein is essential when engaging in any form of exercise, even yoga, as it helps to maintain a healthy body. As scary as it sounds, when we exercise we break down and tear muscle fibres, and protein is needed to help repair these. It also plays a major role in helping to keep our blood sugar levels balanced and helps support the immune system – both important factors to ensure we get the most we can from our yoga practice. A diet rich in fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, lean meat, beans and pulses, will help to ensure you’re getting enough. You can even try adding a scoop of protein powder to your morning breakfast smoothie or post yoga shake!
  1. Omega – 3 – well what doesn’t this super nutrient do!? Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to overall health and wellbeing, and will ensure your body and mind function optimally both on and off the mat. Heart health, cholesterol, mood, skin, the nervous system, and joint health, are all benefited by this wonder nutrient. Oily fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and green leafy veg, are all great sources of Omega-3. So start filling your plate with these beauties and begin to feel the glow from within!

5 TOP TIPS FOR A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP

The city life can make it hard for us to truly switch off and get a good quality night’s sleep. Late nights, or broken sleep with minds’ racing, can mean that we often wake up with low energy and foggy minds – not ideal when we have a day of work ahead of us! When we sleep is when the body’s cells regenerate and rejuvenate, so having a good sleep is vital to keeping us feeling refreshed in the mornings.

Here are 5 simple tips to keep you catching Zzzzzz’s all night long:

  1. Avoid stimulants close to bed time – having caffeine, alcohol and nicotine close to bed time can have a stimulating effect on the body’s nervous system, making it extremely difficult to fall into a relaxing sleep. Every person’s body handles stimulants differently, so try to work out how long before bed time you need to avoid these stimulants for. Turning electronic devices off an hour before bed will also allow the mind to switch into relaxation mode before you hit the pillow – promoting a peaceful slumber.
  1. Try a magnesium salt bath – have a magnesium salt bath just before bed time a few nights a week – it works wonders! Add 2 cups of salts to your bath and feel every muscle in your body relax. Not only does magnesium relax the muscles, it also lowers blood pressure and reduces anxiety. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be crawling into bed after one of these.
  1. Manage stress – when you’re stressed and your mind is constantly racing, this is likely to put some strain on your sleep. Make sure to put a bit of time aside to engage in relaxing activities, such as yoga and meditation. Breathing exercises before bed can also be a great way to get those brain waves flowing a lot more calmly.
  1. Protein – this essential macronutrient helps to reduce cortisol, the hormone that is produced by the body when we are stressed. When cortisol levels are high, sleep levels are low. Protein also helps to balance and maintain blood sugar levels, meaning that insulin spikes, which can contribute to excess cortisol, are kept in check. Try to have a portion of protein with each meal to ensure sufficient protein levels. Eggs, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, lean meat, and quinoa are all good options.
  1. Potassium – this important electrolyte is required by the body to maintain water balance and reduce blood pressure, which in turn contributes to a restful night’s sleep. Eating potassium rich foods such as oats, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, avocados and fish, will set you on the path to that dreamy sleep you’ve been longing for.

INFLAMMATION OVERLOAD

Inflammation is crucial – we need it to survive, and when it is working optimally it is our body’s natural immune defence to tissue damage. However, when we are exposed to a constant supply of mental, environmental, and physical stressors, inflammation becomes chronic and our immune defence can break down, potentially leading to a whole host of other illnesses and chronic disease. Stress, poor sleep, a diet lacking in nutrients, and exposure to toxins can all have a major effect on inflammation and our immune response. Here are my 5 top tips to help you keep inflammation under control –

  1. No to processed – foods that are highly processed and high in refined sugar and flour are one of the top nasties when it comes to inflammation. Make sure you are eating a wide variety of fresh plant-based and whole foods, as these contain a multitude of vitamins, mineral, and antioxidants, which help to keep inflammation at bay and your immune system healthy.
  1. Omega-3 – this important nutrient is vital for its anti-inflammatory properties, however the body cannot make it, so we have to get it through our diet. Omega-3’s have been shown to significantly reduce inflammation, as well as potentially lowering the risk of other diseases, such as arthritis and heart disease. Try adding mackerel, sardines, herring and salmon to your diet for a healthy dose of Omega-3.
  1. Relax and restore – stress is a major player when it comes to inflammation. When we experience high levels of stress, cortisol (our stress hormone) levels run riot, which can seriously effect immune function and overall health. Taking time to chill out and relax is essential for ensuring our mind and body stay healthy. Yoga, meditation, walking, and even enjoying a long soak in the bath will work wonders.
  1. Bad fats – fats like trans-fats have a very negative effect on inflammation and cholesterol. Avoid fried food and trans-fats and opt for good fats, such as those found in oily fish, almonds, avocados, olive oil and coconut oil. These will not only help to lower inflammation, but will help to keep your heart ticking along nicely.
  1. Exercise regularly – exercising doesn’t have to mean intense work-outs at the gym that leave you feeling sore for days afterwards. Find a type of exercise you enjoy! Whether it’s a yoga or pilates class, a cycle around your local park, or some time with a skipping rope in the garden – regular exercise will help to lower inflammation and promote a healthy heart and body.

TOP 5 ENERGY TIPS

3pm dip?

Is that notorious energy slump catching you out in the afternoon? Finding it hard to keep motivated post lunch? Here are my 5 top tips to keep you going throughout the day:

  1. Don’t skip breakfast – eating a well-balanced breakfast full of essential nutrients will help to keep energy levels balanced throughout the day. A breakfast rich in fibre, complex carbohydrates, and a portion of protein, will ensure blood sugar levels are kept in check, and a constant supply of energy is on hand when needed. Missing this important meal and heading for sugary snacks will send blood sugar levels on an energy rollercoaster, leaving you unsatisfied, fatigued, and heading for the next sugar hit.

Look out for my weekly meal plans for healthy breakfast ideas

  1. Ditch the sugar – instead of reaching for the nearest chocolate bar or box of biscuits when you’re feeling peckish, snack on foods rich in protein to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Snacking on a handful of nuts, or a couple of oatcakes with creamy hummus will help keep that blood sugar and energy supply at a consistent level. Upping the protein will mean less sugar spikes, improved concentration, and a happier, calmer mind. One of my fav snacks at the moment is cashew or almond butter spread on slices of pear – totally yummy! Give it a try!
  1. Keep stress levels in check – being stressed takes up so much of our precious energy! Being aware of the stress in our lives and making a conscious effort to manage and reduce it will drastically increase energy levels and our energy reserves. Taking time out for ourselves, even if it’s only half an hour a day, is one of the most beneficial things we can do. A yoga class, some meditation, a walk through the park – anything that calms your racing mind, will boost your energy.

Try a relaxing magnesium bath before bed to relax all the muscles of the body – believe me, you will not be disappointed!

  1. Keep hydrated – being dehydrated can leave you feeling fatigued and lethargic. In our hectic city lives it is so easy to forget to keep our water levels topped up. An adequate water intake is vital in maintaining energy levels, with every cell of our body requiring it to function, and not to mention its importance in flushing toxins and waste from the body. Keep a water jug or bottle on your desk so you’ve always got some nearby. Aim to drink 1.5 to 2 litres per day. I have recently purchased a water bottle with an in-built filter – filtered water always on hand and less money spent on buying bottles on the go!
  1. Are you getting enough magnesium? Although magnesium is essential for helping muscle relax, the mineral also plays a vital role in energy production. Over 300 biochemical reactions in the body require magnesium, and without it energy production will not be at its best. Ensure your diet is rich in magnesium to keep those energy supplies in abundance. Dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, avocado and mackerel all contain high levels of magnesium – so start making these delicious foods part of your daily diet!

 

 

 

WEIGHT LOSS WINNERS

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Are you constantly trying to shift the pounds but plagued by yo-yo dieting? Sick of countless diets that leave you feeling drained and frustrated? These 6 lifestyle tips will put you firmly in the fast lane for ditching the inches – and there’s no dieting involved!

  1. Don’t skip meals – when trying to lose weight it is important to keep your blood sugar levels balanced, otherwise insulin spikes and sugar dips will leave us craving for the next sugary hit. By eating regular meals it is much easier to maintain this balance and keep the cravings, that potentially lead to weight gain, at bay.

 

  1. Safe snacking – when we are feeling peckish in-between meals, aim for snacks containing protein, and avoid those high in refined sugar and carbohydrates. This will leave us feeling fuller for longer and will keep those all-important blood sugar levels on an even keel. Protein bars, nuts, and veggies with hummus are all good choices. Fruit is also great but does contain sugar – try having some nuts or nut butter with fruit, as this protein portion will ensure the sugar enters our bloodstream at a much slower pace.

 

  1. Breakfast shots – try a lemon and ginger shot at breakfast to speed up your metabolism, digestion and weight loss. Ginger helps to speed up the metabolism by raising the temperature of the body, and gives a helping hand to the digestive system by regulating the movement of food. By adding the alkalising properties of lemon you’ll be helping your body to achieve its optimal healthy weight. To make this yummy shot juice some ginger, a wedge of lemon, and a pear – add a sprinkling of cinnamon for an extra kick!

 

  1. Keep yourself watered – aim to drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day to make sure every cell in your body is getting an adequate supply. Keeping hydrated is essential for your overall health, to ensure toxins are flushed from the body, and vital nutrients are delivered to your cells. Drinking water is also known to keep hunger at bay!

 

  1. Exercise regularly – implementing a regular exercise routine that you enjoy will make it easier to reach your weight loss goals. Yoga, pilates, and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) have all been shown to produce fantastic results, as well as producing many other benefits for the body. Engaging in exercise also produces chemicals called endorphins, which leave us feeling happy and less stressed – a true winner for ensuring we stay on the right path!

 

  1. Complex carbs – swap simple carbs, such as white bread, pasta, and baked goods for complex carbs, such as quinoa, brown rice, lentils, beans and sweet potatoes. Simple carbohydrates are absorbed very quickly, causing a blood sugar spike and only a short burst of energy, whereas complex ones are absorbed more slowly, supplying you with a steady stream of energy throughout the day. Complex carbs are also a great source of fibre, which will leave you feeling fuller for longer and not reaching for those after dinner treats.

 

Are you constantly trying to shift the pounds but plagued by yo-yo dieting? Sick of countless diets that leave you feeling drained and frustrated? These 6 lifestyle tips will put you firmly in the fast lane for ditching the inches – and there’s no dieting involved!

  1. Don’t skip meals – when trying to lose weight it is important to keep your blood sugar levels balanced, otherwise insulin spikes and sugar dips will leave us craving for the next sugary hit. By eating regular meals it is much easier to maintain this balance and keep the cravings, that potentially lead to weight gain, at bay.

 

  1. Safe snacking – when we are feeling peckish in-between meals, aim for snacks containing protein, and avoid those high in refined sugar and carbohydrates. This will leave us feeling fuller for longer and will keep those all-important blood sugar levels on an even keel. Protein bars, nuts, and veggies with hummus are all good choices. Fruit is also great but does contain sugar – try having some nuts or nut butter with fruit, as this protein portion will ensure the sugar enters our bloodstream at a much slower pace.

 

  1. Breakfast shots – try a lemon and ginger shot at breakfast to speed up your metabolism, digestion and weight loss. Ginger helps to speed up the metabolism by raising the temperature of the body, and gives a helping hand to the digestive system by regulating the movement of food. By adding the alkalising properties of lemon you’ll be helping your body to achieve its optimal healthy weight. To make this yummy shot juice some ginger, a wedge of lemon, and a pear – add a sprinkling of cinnamon for an extra kick!

 

  1. Keep yourself watered – aim to drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day to make sure every cell in your body is getting an adequate supply. Keeping hydrated is essential for your overall health, to ensure toxins are flushed from the body, and vital nutrients are delivered to your cells. Drinking water is also known to keep hunger at bay!

 

  1. Exercise regularly – implementing a regular exercise routine that you enjoy will make it easier to reach your weight loss goals. Yoga, pilates, and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) have all been shown to produce fantastic results, as well as producing many other benefits for the body. Engaging in exercise also produces chemicals called endorphins, which leave us feeling happy and less stressed – a true winner for ensuring we stay on the right path!

 

  1. Complex carbs – swap simple carbs, such as white bread, pasta, and baked goods for complex carbs, such as quinoa, brown rice, lentils, beans and sweet potatoes. Simple carbohydrates are absorbed very quickly, causing a blood sugar spike and only a short burst of energy, whereas complex ones are absorbed more slowly, supplying you with a steady stream of energy throughout the day. Complex carbs are also a great source of fibre, which will leave you feeling fuller for longer and not reaching for those after dinner treats.

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