You get up in the morning. Maybe you need to take the kids to school. Then you rush to work. Later in the evening, you also have your yoga or gym session. And then you step into the kitchen, clueless, and end up ordering a quick take away from the chip shop on the corner (again) or snacking here and there on whatever you find in the cupboards. I know that this scenario might look familiar and believe me you are not alone! I've discussed the benefits of meal planning in a previous post here and it's also a perk of joining my WE-llness Club, but meal planning alone might not be enough for you! The next question might be: how do we make meal planning FUN? I have a few tips for you! COOKING CLUB: Do you remember book clubs and movie clubs? Here we go! - Pick your favourite recipes, or new ones you're curious about. Invite friends over for a cuppa, or organise a Zoom call and ask them for their suggestions! - The web is full of delicious recipes - you can even find some ideas right here on my blog. Personally, I opt for nourishing, healthy but exciting meals. Have you experimented with jackfruit? How about cashew cream? New ingredients are fun! - Challenge your friends to cook the same recipes as you, either in person or separately, then share notes on how the meal turned out. Pro Tip Time for the best photo competition! TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD: Choose different recipes, planning a “theme” menu based on specific countries, so you can travel around the world without leaving your kitchen! Go from Mexico to Italy, to Australia to Greece and try the national dish. If you feel adventurous, you could also add your own personal touch! This is a family activity too and a fantastic opportunity to explore different cultures and cuisines. Pro Tip Remember: you also want to cook something that you really like the sound of! FOOD IS MUSIC: Music does lots of things to people: in life, we have instant connections with food and with music. They actually complement one another well, because they feed our bodies, our souls and our minds. Organise a play-list to listen to while you are preparing your food; different types of music can inspire different types of cuisine. You don’t believe me? Pro Tip Try smooth and cool Jazz with late night nibbles, refined classical music with fine dining, and rock 'n' roll with American grub! COOK, RELAX, UNWIND: Cooking should be relaxing. Detach from the rest of the world and take some time off. Love yourself by making your best food. Create your perfect environment to match your style: this is your stimulating place. Get cooking appliances and utensils in your favourite colours. What's your personal style? Maybe you're about rustic chopping boards, or recycling those vintage tins you found in the second hand shop! Pro Tip While you cook, you can sip a delicious cocktail or smoothie. Why not level up the health by trying our wide range of kombucha? Forget the perfection. You don’t have to be an impeccable chef. In fact, we all learn from our gaffes and they make really funny stories to tell at our cooking clubs! For more practical, nourishing lifestyle tips, you might like to sign up to my mailing list. Just click the button on the homepage!
Wouldn't it be great if you could just pop a pill and remember everything for an exam? Or your weekly pub quiz? Or, let’s face it, even if you could just remember exactly what needs to go on your shopping list! Realistically, there are no supplements that can boost your brain power to the level of photographic memory. But, studies have shown that regular intake of certain supplements increases the ability to memorise. There are many herbs, supplements and foods that can improve your brain, the effect of which can mean improvement of memory, learning, concentration, attention, reasoning, social skills, decision making, and focus. If you can combine these ‘brain foods’ with sufficient rest and exercise, you will have boosted your brainpower in no time. I know what you're thinking - how can food impact brain function? The brain requires a variety of nutrients to produce neurotransmitters – these are substances that control mood, behaviour, and mind. Studies have proved beyond doubt that nutritional supplements increase IQ and enhance learning ability. ‘Smart nutrients’ (cognitive enhancing supplements) are natural substances that improve human intelligence. Dreams really can come true! Add the following to your diet and your brain power will skyrocket: Ginkgo Biloba: This substance has been used for thousands of years in Eastern cultures and is perhaps the most well-known of all memory enhancing herbs. It works by diluting the blood vessels in the brain and enhancing blood flow, thus supplying lots of oxygen to the brain. It also gets rid of harmful free radicals that damage brain cells. However, the results are not immediate. Taking the supplement continuously for a few weeks will start yielding results. Green Tea: Recent research has shown that tea can be very effective in combating the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease. The most significant result seems to be that it can help prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine. This is a key chemical involved with memory and is lacking in Alzheimer’s patients. The effect of green tea is more lasting than that of black tea, which lasts only for a day. Sage and Rosemary: A recent study shows that students who took sage performed better at a memory recall test. Scientists believe that sage contains substances that may increase levels of a chemical that transmits messages to the brain. Rosemary also helps stimulate the memory and alleviate mental fatigue. It also strengthens mental clarity. How exactly these substances help the brain remains ambiguous. Vitamin B Supplements: A healthy diet should provide you with all the vitamins that are needed by the body. But at times of stress and fatigue, the body gets depleted of Vitamin B. This deficiency prevents the functioning of acetylcholine. Vitamin B also helps carry oxygen to the brain and this does away with harmful free radicals. Some natural foods like soybeans, lentils, and green beans are rich in Vitamin B. Vitamin B Supplements also help to boost the level of these vital vitamins in the body. Iron Supplements and Vitamin C: The most common deficiency in most parts of the world is linked to iron deficiency. Poor concentration, diminished intelligence, and a short attention span are all attributed to iron deficiency. Iron helps carry oxygen to the blood and its deficiency leaves the brain sadly lacking in oxygen. Iron deficiency can be detected by a simple blood test. Iron-rich food like beans, spinach, iron-fortified cereals, and iron supplements help raise the levels of iron. But absorption of iron becomes possible only in the presence of vitamin C. Garnishing iron-rich food with lime juice is one of the most effective and natural ways to ingest Vitamin C with iron. Water: It’s often overlooked but it is an extremely important necessity of the brain. The brain is 70% water, and a dehydrated brain works at a slower pace. Therefore, it is necessary to keep the brain hydrated with plenty of water.
If you've ever felt like your brain isn't working to its full capacity, you may be lacking in some vital nutrients! By adding foods specifically targeted for increased brain function to your diet you will naturally help your body get back to performing at its best! You can always consult the NaturAlly Fed team by booking a 1-2-1 consultation via our website to work out the best way to get you feeling amazing!
Are you ready to re-vamp your sex life? Virtually all of us will experience a dip in libido at some point. Whether due to hormonal factors, stress, or a host of reasons, there are natural ways you can take back control. Aphrodisiacs arouse or increase sexual desire, or libido. The name aphrodisiacs is quite fitting as it was derived from Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sexual love and beauty. Try adding these aphrodisiac foods to your daily diet - they're widely considered the best foods to boost your sex life: Avena Sativa (Wild Oats) Avena sativa, or oats, have long been used by breeders to help male animals "sow their oats" or boost their fertility. Avena Sativa is one of the best remedies to feed the nervous system when under stress and can strengthen it to help handle the situation. It also works to calm down performance anxiety. Brazilian Catuaba Bark Brazil's most famous and highly regarded libido booster. It is considered a central nervous system stimulant and used for sexual struggles and lowered libido in both men and women. Dark chocolate Fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants should already be a part of your daily diet. Thankfully, dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, so it’s a great and tasty way to get more of them. Antioxidants have been linked to reducing signs of aging and the risk for cervical cancer, as well as enhancing sexual pleasure! Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium) If the name is any indication, this Chinese herb has been used for centuries to help improve sexual functions. It has androgen-like effects. Androgens are involved in sexual desire in both men and women. Horny Goat Weed may also help improve circulation and kidney function. Longifolia Jack (Tongkat Ali) A popular Malaysian tree, it is popular due to its aphrodisiac properties for both men and women. The researched focus is towards improved desire and sexual initiation. Celery This fibrous vegetable is one of the best ways to improve your sex life, as it contains androsterone, a hormone men release that appeals to women. Maca Root Grown high in the mountains of Peru, Maca root tends to significantly boost libido and sex drive in men and women by enhancing the endocrine function. The endocrine system includes all of the glands - and the hormones they secrete - that exist in the body and that control fertility, sexual function, digestion, brain and nervous system physiology, and energy levels. Mucuna Pruriens Extract A rare and powerful Ayurvedic herb that has unusually high levels of naturally occurring L-Dopa. L-Dopa is an amino acid that has been the subject of over 25 years of extensive scientific and medical research. It may help with improving sexual dysfunction, loss of libido, stimulating arousal, and increasing intensity and frequency of orgasms for both men and women. Chilli Peppers Chillies are considered natural aphrodisiac foods and a symbol of love. But there’s scientific backing, as well! Chili peppers stimulate endorphins (the brain’s feel-good chemicals), speed up heart rate and make you sweat, which all mimic how you feel when you’re aroused. Muira Puama Found in the Amazon, this extraction is very potent and has an impressive research history of helping restore libido and has been used to help prevent erectile dysfunction. Tribulus Terrestris Also known as Puncture Vine and Gokshura, it may help to increase seminal fluid, not by volume but sperm count, and at the same time may increase sexual desire, arousal and performance in men and women. Tribulus may help to increase the duration of erection and assist in achieving orgasm in those previously unable to. Yohimbe A tree that grows throughout the African nations of Cameroon, Gabon and Zaire. (A similar plant in South America is called Quebracho.) The bark has been smoked as a hallucinogen and has been used in traditional medicine to treat angina and hypertension. The herb is a sensual stimulant for healthy men and women. The NaturAlly Fed Love Potion The Love Potion is a tincture formulated to open your heart to all of life's possibilities. It is comprised of heart-opening herbs for those moments when you are taken over by grief, sadness or loss. It also works wonders even when we just need a nudge toward forgiveness or compassion. It is also a wonderful heart tonic and booster for your circulation. It will help your blood flow and help you open up to love and passion. I love it because life is hard sometimes and we all need a little heart to heart from time to time. You can use it during intimate rituals with your S/O too. Get yours today - Click HERE! These ingredients can do wonders when participating in tantric sex rituals. Everything is centred around how you fuel your body. By nurturing your body, it will nurture you tenfold and provide you with everything you desire!
In this easy vegan meal prep guide, I'll outline everything you need to know to plan your own healthy meals. Meal planning depends on several factors, such as the number of people eating, meal times, special dietary concerns, budget, available foods, recipes on hand and likes and dislikes of everyone who will be eating. Begin by choosing foods and recipes that you enjoy and know how to prepare well. If one or more people have special dietary needs, like nut allergies, plan ahead for substitutions. Breakfast Ensure you have some staples in your cupboards like fruits, bran cereal, porridge oats and bread. That way, you will have quick options when you don’t want to think too much about what to make. Here are some easy and nutritious breakfast ideas: - Bran cereals with bananas and plant-based milk (this will be a winner for your fibre intake) - Oatmeal in a jar (add some fruit for extra flavour...it tastes AMAZING!!) - Bread with natural peanut butter and jam (preferably a healthy jam with limited artificial sugars and flavourings) - Fruit salad (with a plant-based yoghurt for protein) Lunch Depending on your schedule, lunch can often get missed out. However, it's important to give your body that boost of energy in the middle of the day. Meal preparation can help you to ensure you don't miss your lunch again. Many options can be quick and made in advance, such as: - Salad in a jar - Hummus Veggie Wrap - Vegetable and Lentil Soup Dinner In general, dinner is the time when individuals spend more time with friends or family. A plant-based dinner can be a combination of vegetables, grains and legumes. Here are a few examples: - Veggie Burger with sweet potato fries - Vegetable, black bean and rice stir fry - Rice and beans with plantains - Grain bowls - Risotto with roasted vegetables Feeling a little overwhelmed by menu planning, or in need of step-by-step recipes? Every month, my WE-llness Club members get a new recipe pack (complete with shopping list!) to take all of the planning out of feeding your household delicious and nutritious recipes. If you're interested in checking it out, visit Whether coming up with your own meal plan or using mine, if you have other family members in the house, get them to jump in and prepare meals some nights and on weekends. Kids enjoy making macaroni no-cheese, so host a mac-no-cheese night on Wednesdays, for example. There are tonnes of vegan mac n cheese recipes online! Then alternate different vegetable combinations, colours and textures to vary the menu on a weekly basis (no need to let boredom take over on Wednesdays with the same routine). Varying your vegetable intake will also ensure you get all the vital nutrients your body needs. To help with family food budget concerns, food cooperatives and farmers markets available in your area may offer special pricing for groups or large purchases, and buying local is always a great option. It's unfortunate, but fast foods, especially those that are high in fat content (fried, greasy foods), are often cheaper than good, healthy food choices. For example, cereals high in nutritional value are often priced much higher than the low-cost, sugary brand names. Low income and homeless people are often struggling with this situation, regularly needing to turn to the less healthy food choices for survival. So if you're in a comfortable financial position, whenever possible, your plans might want to include a small donation to homeless shelters or food banks, who would probably be more than willing to take extras off your hands.
Nowadays the internet is flooded with self-help books, videos, and podcasts on the best ways to de-stress. Do you find that these tips tend to work for a day or two, but then life gets in the way? We’ve all been there, and that’s okay. Making little changes – from what you eat to the music you listen to – can have a profound impact on your life. Learn how to say goodbye to stress and feel amazing in 5 easy ways! 1. Goodbye Caffeine The saying is true, you are what you eat. Your body is so powerful, if you nurture it, it will nurture you. One major cause of elevated anxieties and stress is caffeine. I know, how can your beloved coffee be causing this much distress? If your daily intake of caffeine exceeds 1000mg, then you may be susceptible to some nasty side effects, such as nervousness, jitteriness, rapid breathing and an increase in stress-levels. If you notice any of these symptoms, it may be a good idea to cut down. Instead, why not replace your morning coffee with a fresh juice or Kombucha? 2. Soothing music Did you know the music you listen to can also affect your mood, and in turn affect how stressed and anxious you feel? The frequency your music is tuned to can have a dramatic impact on your psychological wellbeing. Music tuned into 432Hz can offer many benefits, including relaxation and stress release. Due to the more harmonic and pleasant nature of 432Hz music, it aids in the release of serotonin and endorphins, which in turn keep blood pressure and heart rate stable. 432Hz Music helps with releasing negative energy blockages and acts as a good sound healing tool to release toxins. 3. Meditating the stress away You could also include this music in your daily meditation/breathwork practice. Learn to be kinder to yourself with something called ‘loving kindness meditation’. This is a form of meditation that involves spending time cultivating a feeling of kindness toward yourself. By practising a more grateful attitude toward life you can feel more capable to tackle any stressful situations head-on. Daily meditation can help to decode your negative mindset and allow you to have a more positive outlook on life. Don’t have time to meditate? A quick solution is to take deep breaths in through the nose and out through your mouth. Fill your whole body with air before releasing. This will slow your heart rate down. Meditation and breathwork are great natural stress relievers. 4. Writing it all down Does your mind ever feel like a bowl of spaghetti? Journaling can be used as an effective tool to release stress. Writing down how you’re feeling can help to organise your thoughts. Sometimes it’s difficult to do this without seeing them plainly in front of you. Why not write down three things you did today, and any compliments that people gave you? You can then read these back from time to time! This has a huge impact on our mental health. Seeing the positive things we accomplish, however small, can put things into perspective. It can help us to not sweat the little things. 5. Getting active An easy, natural, yet incredibly powerful method of reducing stress is simply putting one foot in front of the other and increasing your day-to-day physical activity levels. You can incorporate this into your everyday life, too. When I say get active, I don’t mean you need to spend two hours in the gym every day (unless you want to of course). What I do mean is spend 10-15 minutes each day doing some form of activity. I recommend doing some yoga – it focuses on working with the body, rather than pushing it to new extremes. When trying to reduce stress, it’s the perfect physical activity! Ultimately, there are countless ways to reduce stress. Our Natural Health Lab offers so many diverse techniques that can help you. It’s important to find what works for you so that you can maintain these practices and eradicate stress from your life.
Do you find maintaining a healthy weight challenging? If so, you’re not alone! Obesity continues to be a serious problem in the UK and globally. In 2019, 26% of men and 29% of women in the UK were classified as obese according to NHS statistics. These figures highlight how important it is to learn as much as we can about the best diet and lifestyle tips to follow if we want to lose weight or stay the same! Why does my weight matter? Unfortunately, those of us who are overweight have a greater risk of developing numerous diseases. These include: 1. heart disease 2. stroke 3. diabetes 4. cancer 5. arthritis 6. hypertension Losing weight helps to prevent and control these diseases. The quick weight loss methods that have been extremely popular in recent years do not provide lasting results. More often than not, dieting methods that involve dietary drinks, foods, and supplements or pills do not work. If they do, the results are only temporary. It is better to rely on a healthy weight loss option which will provide lifetime results. We have to set realistic goals and not expect to lose a lot of pounds in a short span of time! Losing weight the healthy way is a process, but definitely a worthwhile one. What can you do? Here are some tips on how you can lose those unwanted pounds the healthy way: 1. Don't diet The key to a healthier way of losing weight is: Do not diet! You may seem happy and feel that you are losing those unwanted pounds from your belly and thighs by skipping meals. But depriving your body of nutrients is not a sustainable lifestyle choice! Love yourself by making choices that nourish you and your body. If you’re listening to your body and making sensible decisions, you won’t feel the urge to binge on junk food! 2. Intermittent Fasting Fasting can allow your body to digest all the food you've consumed, without overworking it. Our bodies are truly amazing! But it is important to allow them to rest. When fasting, you have to take into account many factors surrounding your lifestyle. We can offer 1-2-1 coaching to help you when fasting; we also offer an intermittent fasting course that will show you the benefits of fasting and how to do it in a healthy way. When you break your fast, ensure your meal is rich in nutrients, as this is the most important meal of the day. Having a healthy meal to break your fast will jump-start your metabolism. Your food intake after you wake up will be used to burn fat all day long. 3. Eat small, healthy meals frequently Five small-serving meals per day is better than three hearty meals. Eating more frequently, and in small servings, can prevent overeating. This will also increase your metabolism and make calories burn faster. 4. Create goals Decide how much weight you want to lose. Keep your goals realistic. In the long run, it is virtually impossible for you to lose 40 pounds in 2 weeks. Have a mindset that you want to eat healthy to stay healthy for the rest of your life. Once you have decided on a weight loss plan or program, stick to it and make sure that you follow your own set of dieting rules. 5. Drink lots of water Your body needs sufficient water to burn fat and keep your cells hydrated and healthy. Ensure that you're drinking the recommended amount of water every day! 6. Avoid sugar Plan your meals around lots of fruits and vegetables, grains and pulses. A healthy plant-based diet can help you lose any excess weight, whilst keeping your body in great condition. Sweets, sodas and pastries should be once-in-a-while indulgences only. However, don't suppress your cravings as that can lead to binge eating. Instead, try and think of a healthy alternative, i.e. you could eat berries instead of sweets. 7. Watch your fat intake Fat is not the culprit for being overweight. You need this to keep your weight at the proper level. There is such a thing as healthy fats- olive, peanut, coconut and canola oil have them. Did you know omega-3 fats are good for the heart? We don’t need to be scared of fat! 8. Exercise. Leave your car if you are only going a few minutes from home, take the stairs instead of the elevator, jog, cycle or skate. Use these activities and other home chores if the gym and exercise classes don't appeal to you. Make sure that you do this regularly and you won't even notice that you're already shedding pounds with these mundane activities. It does not matter how much weight you plan or need to lose. What is important is that you set realistic goals for yourself. Go slow. If you have already lost 5 or 6 pounds, give yourself a break and celebrate that! Then try to lose the next 5 pounds. Eat healthily, drink lots of water, have enough sleep and exercise. This will give you a higher chance of losing weight and improving your health, which would result in a new, healthier you. Remember, you are not alone on this journey! We are here to support you every step of the way. Join our FaceBook Tribe to stay updated on great health tips and to document your journey. We want to see your transformation! Your health is worth it!
Balance Your Body Are you done with being stuck in your old routines? Are you ready to reclaim your life and get your body back in balance? Well, believe it or not, the first step in the right direction is not to dust off your bathroom scales and face the music: it begins from within. Sure, punching in the numbers to get your BMI will give you a heads-up. Rebooting your cupboards with healthier snacks does wonders, just as signing up with a personal trainer will boost your exercise routine. But if you really want to balance your body, you need to start by looking at it inside out, on a molecular level. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, suggested some 2,000 years ago that all health issues originate in the gut. This old wisdom still holds true today. And how about that sure-fire cold on the first day of holidays after working round the clock for weeks? What you might not realise is that it is just your immune system doing its job to protect you by physically telling you it’s time to slow down. Now, is it any wonder that the status of our bodies goes a lot deeper than what the good old bathroom scales can tell us? What about omegas? You probably already know that Omega-3 is good for you and that eating a lot of plant-based products rich in omegas can boost your body's functioning. Flaxseed, tofu and walnuts are great sources of Omega-3s! You might also subscribe to the common misconception that Omega-6 is the bad fatty acid, as you’ve probably picked up on the fact that the modern Western diet contains an unhealthy excess of this particular fatty acid. In fact, both Omega-3 and -6 are extremely important for our bodies, but the food we eat tends to give us a distorted ratio of the two. Getting a fatty acid profile of your blood done would help you to gauge the strength of your current diet and what you need to change. Your personal profile would provide you with an overview of eleven of the most important fatty acids in your blood, including Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9. Take The Test! You can have this fatty acid profile done in just a few minutes, with a simple blood-spot test at home. Zinzino is a leading, global company within the new science of pharmaconutrition, using active nutrients from foods to fight the imbalance of modern lifestyles. The Zinzino BalanceTest is completely anonymous and comes with easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions. After posting the test, your personal reading will be available in approximately 14 days, with a full report to guide your Omega-6:3 ratio adjustment. You'll get your individual custom-detailed report with a personalised analysis on your fatty acid profile. Why Zinzino? Zinzino has conducted around 550,000 blood spot tests across the globe, giving each individual new insight into their body’s Omega-6:3 balance and fatty acid profile. The goal is a ratio close to 3:1 but a lot of people sit at 15:1. Interestingly enough, almost 95% of people taking the test find that their ratio is off-balance. The good news is that this can change in just a matter of months with Polyphenol Omega food supplements high in olive polyphenols, Omega-3, and vitamin D3. The Zinzino BalanceOil is designed to safely adjust and maintain your EPA + DHA levels and the Omega-6:3 ratio. The NaturAlly Fed Zinzino Challenge! Omegas are clearly vital to maintaining good health! We've partnered up with Zinzino to bring you the Zinzino Challenge. Transform your health in just 120 days. Click HERE to take the challenge with us!
When you’re stressed out, the foods that you’re turning to are most likely going to be traditional ‘comfort’ foods – think big meals, take-out, fatty foods, sweet foods, and alcohol. Let’s face it – we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset about something. However, this isn’t a good permanent solution. When you’re turning to unhealthy foods you can feel better temporarily, but in the long run, you will feel worse. When your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, you can begin to feel less energetic, more lethargic, and in some cases less able to concentrate and focus. All of this can lead to even more stress. Foods that Fight Stress If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to ght stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet which includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups. Filling up on foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the basic staples of the diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix. Some of the best stress-ghting foods include: Avocado – Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit which can be eaten in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content which specically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat. Blueberries – If you’re feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks, swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially antho-cyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benets including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind – all of which can help you to better deal with stress. Chamomile Tea – Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you're feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Take one cup only though, as too much has the opposite effect! Chocolate – Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can start munching on chocolate bars every time you're stressed out – chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet - and the best chocolate for you is raw chocolate! Dark chocolate in particular is best for you, as it contains more avonols and polyphenols, two hugely important antioxidants which can help combat stress, more than many fruit juices. Look up raw chocolate recipes too, so easy to make it yourself! Oatmeal – Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. A complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed. Studies have shown that kids who choose oatmeal for breakfast tend to be much sharper throughout the morning in school compared to kids who had alternative morning meals. Choose gluten-free oats and you’ll be off to an amazing start! If you would like my amazing recipe for overnight oats, message me here: Walnuts – If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option which will help you to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. There is no denying the sweet, pleasant avor of walnuts and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. A versatile nut, walnuts are great for salads, or add them to a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake. Pistachios – another food which is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term is pistachios. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. Along with this, the rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic! Green Leafy Vegetables – leafy, green vegetables should be a pivotal part of anyone’s diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants which help to ght off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized. Dark leafy greens, for example spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall. Fermented foods – last but not least, eating fermented foods such as Kombucha can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The benecial bacteria which are found in fermented foods such as kombucha actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve. Putting Together Your Diet Plan Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when youre feeling worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears. When youre feeling stressed you may be tempted to reach for classic comfort foods - usually foods which are laden with sugar very starchy or greasy. However, although these foods can make you feel momentarily better they will actually make you feel worse in the long run. Having stressbusting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, dairy-free yogurt, walnuts or pistachios or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it, can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress. When it comes to combating and dealing with stress in the long run its important to make sure that for the most part you are eating a diet which is healthy and balanced. In order to stay on track its a good idea to make a meal plan for your week and plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stressbusting foods in your kitchen to make meals and snacks from when youre feeling like stresseating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier overall, but can improve your mental health and stress levels too. A good example of a healthy stressbusting menu would be: Breakfast - Gluten-free oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries Midmorning snack - Natural yogurt with fruit or a handful of pistachio nuts Lunch - A wholegrain pasta salad filled with plenty of leafy greens Afternoon snack - Dark chocolate Dinner - tofu or soya protein with vegetables Before bed - Chamomile tea Of course you dont need to stick to this menu, but it gives you a good idea. Remember to exercise good portion control when eating foods such as nuts, chocolate, yogurt, or avocado. As the saying goes, you are what you eat, so make sure that first and foremost you're filling yourself up with foods which are good for your mental health. If you would like to more help to help you fight stress, click here to book a consultation with NaturAlly Fed today! Have a great stress-free day! Lots of love, NaturAlly Fed x
The summer is officially over - sigh - and the Autumn Equinox is here to mark the official start of the autumn and the winter months. The equinox is one out of two days a year when the day and night are completely equal in length and it is an important time for us to think about the changes that this events bring to us and around us. With every change of season, we should be reflecting about the last couple of months and finish things we might have left up in the air. We should also the thinking of the few months ahead and setting up our resolutions. Making a Vision Board might be an amazing opportunity to help you focus on what you want to achieve in the months to come - look online for inspiration about how to make one, but I cannot recommend these enough as they worked for me amazingly!! With the Autumn Equinox we also have one more point to address: it is a time to focus on "letting go" - leaving the past behind, stop hanging on to unrealistic hopes, forgive those who have hurt us and move on, let negativity out of our lives and make room for new experiences and emotions to come in and fill our hearts and souls. Letting go is also something we need to address physically. Think about clearing your wardrobes, your cupboards, your drawers, your handbag/man-bag, your car, and all those places that you rather not look at because they are too cramped! Most importantly, think about clearing you body and soul: this is the perfect time for a cleanse, a detox and some mindful liberation of all unwanted emotions. There are plenty of things you can do, perhaps you could look at my website for inspiration (click here to visit my detox pages) or book yourself a consultation with me to guide you through some techniques - just send me an email. You might find that your body will start producing more mucous this time of the year - its own way of removing toxins and other unwanted chemicals from the body. Try not to suppress this with tablets - so that your body can get rid of this stuff - and maybe think of ways to assist this process. Some warm spices like turmeric and ginger are great, as well as white foods such as parsnips and pears. This time of the year is great practice for us to also replenish our digestive flora, so you might want to think about increasing your consumption of fermented foods like miso, tempeh, marmite, sauerkraut, kimchi or fermented drinks like kefir and kombucha. All fermented food will help you with friendly bacteria to relate your digestion and they are also rich in B vitamins. On the Kombucha note - watch out for my launch at the beginning of October - I am launching NaturAlly FED Kombucha and you'll be able to taste my mega tasty version of this fantastic drink at a few events or by purchasing it online - more information to come! Finally, you might want to think about your home and the space that you live in. Pagans used to build altars to the change in season to celebrate the equinox, but in our modern society maybe placing some pumpkins on our doorstep or hanging a wreath of autumn colors on your door or other decorations around the house might just do the trick! Here's a few ideas for you! Have a lovely Autumn and see you all soon!
I absolutely love this story, so I thought I'd add it to my blog! Enjoy!! Wonder why your voice raises as you become more and more upset with someone? This lovely little parable was kindly sent to me by a friend who found it both helpful and amusing! Screams
One day teacher asks his disciples, ‘Why do people scream when they quarrel?’
‘Because they lose inner peace,’ replied one disciple.
‘But why scream, if the other person is next to you?’ Teacher asked. ‘Is it not possible to speak to him in a soft voice? Why scream, if you are angered?’
Disciples offered many answers, none of which satisfied the Teacher. In the end Teacher explained:
‘When people are upset with each other and quarrel, their hearts distance from each other. In order to cover this distance and hear each other, they have to scream. The more angered they become, the bigger the distance between them and, consequently, the louder they have to yell.’
‘And what happens to people who are in love? They don’t scream.To the contrary, they speak softly. That is because their hearts are close to each other, and the distance between them is short. And what happens as their love strengthens? They don’t speak, they whisper and become even closer in their love. In the end, even whispering becomes unneccessary. They look at each other and understand everything without words.’
I thought I'd do a recap of my journey over the last 12 months, since today marks a year since I was fitted with a gastric band and so much has happened since then! I spent my life yoyoing between fat and thin, starving and stuffing, happy and sad and after trying so many "diets", I thought that surgery was the answer - the solution to my weight management. I say management because for quite some time I have believed that weight is a monster to be tamed and kept under control - an evil being that is so powerful it can command me to do crazy things! Like going to eat KFC or McDonalds 3 or 4 times per week, on top of take aways in the evening and sweets on my desk at work - not that I thought that it was any sort of issue whilst I was doing it either! Anyway, after reaching 106 kg and fed up with my appearance, my mind was made up, my money ready, and I had researched and contacted 6 different companies before deciding which one to have my surgery with. So I made my way to Derby the night before the operation, for the first time thinking about the magnitude of my trip. I had been on a prescribed "liver-shrinking" diet for one week, measuring and calculating tiny amounts of food that I could eat in order to loose weight and reduce the size of my liver before the operation, so that it wouldn't get in the way of the surgeon. I had lost 1 stone (7 kilos) just doing this: similarly to other quick-fix diets, I felt great about the weight loss, but I also knew that it was one of those short-lived results. I left paper love hearts on each pillow of my husband and kids on my way out of the house and called them on FaceTime in the evening, before the mandatory selfies and rest. As I was in bed, I feared that maybe this wasn't it and that I was putting myself in danger of undergoing surgery and not waking up, or that it might still not work. BUT I still went through with it the following day - of course! Achy and sleepy, I made it to the toilet the flowing afternoon to admire my scars and take another selfie - just in case the weight had already magically disappeared... of course it hadn't. Over the following month, I had to learn how to eat again, starting with a diet of just liquid food like clear soup, broth, bovril. Then moved onto a thicker liquid diet where I started adding some small portions of plain yoghurt, runny smoothies, or blended vegetable soups. After almost a month, I was then able to start eating some easy mashed up solid food - slowly chewing my food and listening to my body's new feeling of being full sooner than I ever expected. I found that the band does restrict the amount of food you can eat in one sitting - especially given that I loved BIG portions and buffets! However, you could still overeat if you really wanted - it might just take you longer! However, something that I also learned whilst on this journey is to stop eating when I'm no longer hungry rather than stopping when I felt full - big wake up moment for me! I have to say that although I did loose some weight and reduced the size of my portions considerably, and even rejoined the gym (going 5 mornings per week!) my weight plateaued at 90 kg and no matter what I did, it did not seem to shift one bit! Annoying!! However, the good thing was that at least I was not putting the weight back on! I spent the summer feeling great and much slimmer than I had been in years - getting reacquainted with a more comfortable and confident me. By the time I got to the Autumn, it was obvious to me that the gastric band was not really doing anything for me - I had learned for quite some time to manage my food intake and still not eating big portions, but the KFC was starting to creep back in from time to time, in small portions but still not what I was supposed to eat according to my nutritionist who sent me an email every couple of months to tell me what I was supposed to eat without expecting an answer or actually calling me to check what was going on - or to know whether I was even still alive given I didn’t answer one single email of his… shocking! So I got to Christmas time, still weighing 90 kg, still eating the odd KFC and still having a pretty healthy diet - or so I thought - but the gym was starting to slip! But hey, who really cared about the gym when I had a eat-all-you-can 24/7 cruise going round the Caribbean to look forward to?? Hell yeah, restaurants aboard open throughout the day, ice-cream bar as well as self-service machine, a-la-cart 3-course dinner every evening, oh and let’s not forget about the cocktails - especially the Nutella-ice-cream one during one of the midnight buffets just in case I had missed out on some treat during the rest of the day!!! Mmmmmm Despite the lovely food, I felt really run down by stress, I had bad sinus pain and congestion pretty much throughout the holiday, I was bloated and had headaches... What a lovely way to enjoy the holiday! It is a miracle really that my weight stayed at 90 kg with all I ate whilst away, but little did I know my life was just about to change... A friend of mine I went on holiday with and a devout vegetarian had been telling me about this naturopathy course that she had been on - believed it or not I have always thought that health starts from within and turned to herbal remedies plenty of times. I was intrigued to know more. Once home, I started reading about the course she had been on as well as others and the more I read and the more I felt the need to know more. I needed to turn my health around and I had this urge to do it quickly! It didn't take me long before I enrolled and started the course within a week! I found studying Naturopathic Nutrition enlightening and thought-provoking: so many basic yet overlooked concepts about health and nutrition started flooding my mind and I started making the changes that I was reading about. So I increased my hydration considerably, went gluten and sugar free, addressed my Omega 3s and 6s ratio, and started detoxing techniques such as enemas, fasting, castor oil packs, and Epsom salts baths. Within just a couple of weeks I started feeling a massive difference in myself and slowly developed a greater sense of wellbeing: my headaches and sinus problems disappeared, I had the heaviest sleeps I had in years, I felt less bloated, more energised, AND I lost weight without having cravings for naughty food!! That in itself was the single best victory for me. I actually shifted from dieting to being healthy almost without realising it and with little effort. I lost another 9 kg in 4 months, almost as much as I lost in the previous 8 months - quite significant given that I actually eat quite a lot, but of the right food. Naturopathic nutrition has also changed the lives of my husband, kids, friends and family, as well as the lives of the people that have come to me for a consultation, support and advice. It has reawakened my senses, my energy, my spirit and more importantly it has given me a new lease of life, a more focussed and happy life. As I've fed myself naturally and found that nature is my ally in many ways, I could not resist to play on words - so here's to NaturAlly Fed! Here's to a new life and new path! Here's to those that have inspired me and thought me along this journey! And here's to those who support me and are joining me in this crazy yet amazing new chapter of healthy happy life! Love, Fed naturally! ;)
Fully hydrated - the only best way to keep healthy.
Do you drink your two litres of water per day? Do you really? I thought I did drink a fair bit, especially when I added together all the cups of coffee, the teas, the glasses of water, and the wine in the evening... until I started researching and reading more into hydration! The answer is: most probably not! Dehydration is step one for many issues that we can create for our body: our body cannot function without proper hydration; when we are dehydrated, our body produces histamine resulting in allergy; when dehydrated, our brain shrinks and can this can cause mental health issues, depression and bad behaviour; when we are dehydrated, our body becomes acidic, toxic and cancerous. To understand hydration properly, we need to take a little step back and look at the composition of our body, our cells and how it should work in perfect circumstances. I will keep it all very basic and easy to follow, but there are loads of books and websites out there on these topics to help getting a much deeper understanding of this fundamental - and often misunderstood - part of our health. After all 80% of our body is made up of water and therefore we should develop a better understanding of the part that this element plays in our life just based on that. Our body is made up of cells that create tissues, organs and systems. Cells can be quite different and play different roles, but they all have similar characteristic: they have a semi-permeable membrane that selectively lets substances and chemicals through, and fluid within its membrane. 70% of the cell is made up of water, which allows chemical reactions to take place for the cell to be able to function. Most of the chemicals used by our cells are dissolved in water and can be transported through the cell membrane: sodium and calcium (which are acid forming), and magnesium and potassium (which are alkaline forming). The acidic-forming chemicals go into the cell and the alkaline-forming ones are released in the day time, whilst at night the opposite happens – this is what our body does for its pH to keep balanced around 7. When our pH is below 7 our body is acidic and when our pH is above 7 our body is alkaline. Generally speaking, if our diet includes too many acid forming foods, such as high amounts of meats, grains, dairy, and sugars, the body becomes more acidic. If you eat too many alkaline producing foods such as greens, fruits, and sea vegetables, the body can become too alkaline. What we put in our body has a huge effect on who we are and how we function in the world: balance is key. A virus will only manifest itself in the body if the environment is acidic for example. Just take a glance at some of the graphic below to get a sense of how this all works. When we talk about hydration, the first thing to think about is the pH of the water that we put in, which should be 7 or above. This is easily addressed since most bottled water brands these days state the pH on their label. If we don’t, then our body has to work to make its chemicals balance out. In the same way, we should make sure that the water we drink is chemical free or at the very least filtered, otherwise our liver and kidneys must filter dangerous chemicals such as liquefied chlorine, fluorosilicic acid, aluminium sulphate, calcium hydroxide and sodium silicofluoride. Just google some of these chemicals to see how dangerous to our health they really are. To come back to our body, all chemical reactions produce toxins that need to be expelled from cells, from organs, and ultimately from our body. Toxins are dissolved in water and expelled by the cell through the membrane, then through the lymphatic system or blood, filtered through the liver and kidneys, and finally excreted as urine or feaces. This can only happen providing that the cell is fully hydrated, which means that besides water we need ensure that the membrane is healthy so that it can hold water inside and to allow for chemicals to permeate through. The membrane of the cell is made of fatty acid, therefore omega 3 and omega 6 need to strongly featured in our daily diet if we want to ensure that our cells and body can retain the water successfully. These can be added to our diet through fish, algae, walnuts, avocado, soaked linseeds, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds. And finally, the part that we started with, how much water should we be drinking to be fully hydrated? An adult body normally needs 4 pints of water, children need 2 pints, and babies and toddlers need ½ pint to 1 pint – providing that we are healthy, do not move, and do not interact with anything or anyone around us! There are loads of things that can dehydrate us and when this happens then we need to drink more, but what exactly should we think about? And how much more should we drink? AND is there anything else that could help us keep hydrated? Here’s for the dehydrating factors: Pollution: emissions, central heating, chemicals Acid forming foods: gluten, dairy, processed, dehydrated or dehydrating foods Stress: being in the wrong path, stressful job, relationships, financial matters, discrimination, emotional problems, traumatic events, illness Technology: mobiles, WIFI, Bluetooth, microwaves, computers Lifestyle: travelling, exercise, sleep, drugs, alcohol Now, for the amount of extra water, we should look at how much exposure our body gets to the above factors: the more we subject our bodies to, them more water we should replenish. Just for a couple of examples: for each cup of caffeinated coffee we should drink an extra pint of water, we should drink a glass of water for each hour of travel, and lots of water before we exercise. We should also remember that our body needs hydration constantly, so water should be introduced BEFORE we lose hydration rather than when we are already dehydrated, otherwise we are asking our body to continue functioning whilst we are deficient. One more simple thing to remember is to hydrate our food before consumption, in particular any grains, pulses and seeds should be soaked before cooking so that the absorb more water and do not dehydrate us once in our body. To conclude, when we think about keeping hydrated, we should always think mindfully about our body composition: if we are 80% water, then 80% of what we put into our body should be water – good quality water! If we do anything that creates stress or dehydrates us, then we need to drink more; and we do need to eat nutritious foods in order for our cells to function and retain water to keep us hydrated. #Recipe