nutrition Archives - Awaken Your Health
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The Important Link Between Body and Mind

In today’s hectic, fast-paced world, it can sometimes be difficult to keep yourself calm and collected in the face of stress. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to help your body naturally stay calm. Here at Awaken Your Health, we offer nutritionist services to our clients, helping you to make healthy choices to enable your body to perform at its optimal level. That includes making the right nutrition choices to help reducing stress. Often people gloss over the link between stomach and brain, but here’s a glimpse into how you can prime your diet for greater mental health:

Eat the Rainbow

Eating a wide diversity of colourful plant foods, rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, can boost focus by protecting cellular function and optimising blood flow to the brain. Aim for five or more cups of plant foods daily, predominantly vegetables, and add value and flavour to your meals by including herbs and spices. Try to increase the number of colours on your plate at each mealtime – diversity is the spice of life!

A Natural High

Whilst caffeine and other stimulants may give you a short-term boost of energy, relying on stimulants to function each day has an adverse effect on your blood sugar control, which may increase anxiety and irritability, not to mention impacting sleep quality. We often feel more exhausted than when we began as the effects of caffeine and other stimulants wear off. You are much better off relying on adequate hydration and a high-quality diet to sustain a calm and focused mind. Replace coffee with a couple of cups of quality green tea. This has been shown to produce a better ability to focus attention and to improve both speed and accuracy due to its l-theanine content.

Fishy Benefits

Omega-3-rich foods provide building block components that form a structural part of our brain matter. Including oily fish such as Australian sardines, wild salmon, ocean trout, oysters, mussels, and skipjack tuna aid mental performance and improve concentration and mood. Our founder, Tabitha McIntosh, recently contributed this last point to an article by Bupa Life Insurance: ‘How to Stay Calm: Wellness Experts Share Their Tips‘. Read it for more great advice on keeping calm throughout your day and life.

Take care of your diet and you’ll be doing wonders for your mind.

We are all about following a healthy diet, not just for the health benefits but for the mood benefits as well. Check out our latest feature in a Bupa Life Insurance article to learn all about how a balanced, nutritious diet can help you keep calm and reduce stress.

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The Key to Losing Weight & Maintaining it

weight loss

Embarking on a weight loss journey is an empowering time in a person’s life.  An opportunity to implement new, supportive practices that will eventually harden into habits. At Awaken Your Health, we know that making healthy and sustainable changes doesn’t have to be about deprivation, restriction, calorie counting, or fad diets. It’s about taking responsibility for your health, supporting your food relationship, knowing you deserve joy, and feeling your absolute best every single day!

Knowing the best methods to lose weight can be confusing. People can feel bombarded with information over-load baffled by fad diets, pills, potions and tricks – it’s no wonder it all feels ‘too hard’. So how do you know what’s right for you and the best way to achieve results? 

What’s Wrong with weight loss pills, tea’s & fad diets?

The main problem with fad diets is exactly that, they are a trend.  It is both unrealistic and unhealthy to maintain those diets (and their results) over the long term. Weight loss pills are another common approach taken to weight loss. They can be detrimental to your health and often even come with an array of nasty side effects such as heart palpations, insomnia and anxiety due to the high caffeine content. I’m sure many of you have seen weight loss teas advertised on social media and magazines? These too can be damaging to health due to their diuretic and/or laxative action that can lead to severe dehydration and dependence.

A Naturopathic Approach to Weight Loss

A naturopathic approach involves a full health assessment, where your current health status, diet and lifestyle are all taken into consideration. Health investigations may be suggested to identify hindering factors affecting your ability to lose weight. This holistic approach allows us to design an effective, tailored plan to suit your unique requirements. It provides you with the best possible chance of achieving your weight loss goals, and the right tools and education to maintain your amazing results!

THE KEY TO WEIGHT LOSS

Making small yet effective changes is the key to weight loss success. These 5 steps can benefit anyone looking to improve their health or lose weight. The best thing is that you can start them almost immediately.

Include 1 Healthy Fat with Each Meal

Good quality fats digests slowly, helping you feel fuller for longer and you eat less overall. Try including one of the following with each meal; olive oil, macadamia oil, coconut oil, nut butters, nuts and seeds, chia seeds, flaxseed/oil, oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines).

Always Pack Your Snacks

This is a big one if find yourself reaching for a chocolate bar at 3pm. Being prepared with a healthy snack is the key to avoid overeating and making poor choices. Always keep a range of balanced snacks on hand or in the desk at work – raw nuts, bliss balls, dried figs or prunes, boiled eggs, chia puddings, hummus or tahini and carrot sticks, fresh fruit or yoghurt pots are all great options. Don’t have time to prepare snacks? The next tip will help.

Set a Prep Day

I am a huge fan of locking in a ‘prep day’ once a week. There’s no need to give up the whole day, even just 1 hour is sufficient (providing you have the ingredients available in the kitchen). Prepare snacks in bulk, put the slow cooker on and freeze a few meals for lunch, do a sufficient food shop and stock your pantry with clean wholesome food for the week ahead.

Switch on Fat Burning Mode (your metabolism)

Our body’s metabolism dictates how we burn fat and produce muscle. Stimulate your fat-burning power by increasing these food sources; chilli, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, green tea and protein (eggs, lean meat, poultry, fish).

Increase NEAT 

NEAT stands for (non-exercising activity thermogenesis), it is the energy expended for all physical activities that is not sleeping, eating or sport-like exercise – think of it as moving more and sitting less! Increasing regular movements into your day has the ability to increase your metabolic rate and burn more fat. This step is crucial for those who spend long hours sedentary for work or traveling in the car. Examples include typing, walking to work, taking the stairs, carrying your groceries, fidgeting, dancing, gardening, cleaning, housework, try doing squats or calf raises whilst brushing your teeth – it all adds up!

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Body talk

young woman meditation on sunset beach

With the pace of modern life, your body’s inner wisdom and intuition is incredibly easy to become disconnected from. Meditation, yoga, mindfulness, time in nature, and even being well rested can help us to still our minds and the noise of the world, just enough to hear our inner voice, and our body talk. Our intuition connects us to both our inner selves, and to something larger and beyond our own lives and ourselves.

Taking the time each day to tap into our own body’s inner wisdom, to gain a basic understanding of what our body may need for that particular day, is vital to fostering a sense of harmony and connection on the body, and providing it with what it truly needs.

When we explore the body, what we put in the body, and how it makes us feel, we cannot overlook our relationship with our body and with our food. Understanding that we all have a unique relationship with our food, stress, and our environment is a first vital step.

Thinking about what drives your food choices is always a good place to start. Is it about convenience? Cost? Are you an emotional eater? Is it about taste for you? Are you a follower of emerging trends for super foods? Whatever it may be, there is a sense of food and information overwhelm when it comes to Nutrition: I see it every day in private practice. And one of my pet hates – adopting highly restrictive eating regimes – can foster and add momentum to unhealthy relationships with food, turning eating a battle. Forgetting dietary labels, particularly when sticking to a particular way of eating is not serving our body’s needs, is courageous but necessary if we are to truly be intimate with ourselves. We can be so heavily influenced by the things around us. Allowing time each day to come back to yourself – unplugging, disconnecting from gadgets and social media, connecting with the earth and your body via an intuitive meditation /mindfulness/ yoga practice helps you find your true self.

“The way is not in the sky, the way is in our hearts”. Buddha.

Healthy eating is often simple eating. To reduce food complexity and to take the battle out of your food choices, the ancient sanskrit translation of Sthira and Sukha comes to mind. Applying both effort and steadiness, combined with lightness and ease to the way you nourish your body, to find the sweet spot for your way of eating, is a wonderful mantra: one I apply with clients daily.

 

Tabitha X

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5 ideas to boost your daily vegetable intake

veggies

Start with breakfast

Breakfast is a fantastic way to knock off a few of your ‘daily serves’. Cook up 2 eggs and serve them with 1-2 cups of vegetables. Our favourites are baby spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, avocado, green beans, and kale. You can cook them all up in the same pan – easy!

Supercharge Your Smoothie

Smoothies are another easy option to increase your vegetables intake. We will be sharing our favourite smoothie recipes in the upcoming Spring newsletter, they taste delicious and are loaded with goodness! Remember if your adding leafy greens to your smoothie, don’t forget to rotate them to ensure you get a variety of nutrients. Spirulina, chlorella, wheat grass, barley grass, and even baby spinach & cucumber are other options to increase your nutrient intake.

Snack on it

Chop up some vegetable sticks and enjoy them with a good quality dip such as hummus, tatziki, or green tahini. You can mix your vegetables up with raw capsicum, cucumber, carrot, celery, cauliflower and broccoli sticks.

Top it Off

Top of your meals with a generous handful of fresh herbs, they are still ‘green’s, and add a boost of flavour to your meals. Parsley on your soup, coriander on your curry, or rosemary on your roast veg (yum).

Juice it

Good old vegetable juices are an excellent way to increase your nutrient intake. Remember the key here is for the juice to include mainly vegetables and 1-2 pieces of fruit max.

Mix it Up

Potato chips can easily be swapped for sweet potato or kale chips. Home roasted, covered in a good oil like virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Think colour with your roast or baked veg – the more colour, the higher the nutrient density!

 

For further help, please book in to see us for a consultation.

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Cruciferous Vegetables: How to use them to help balance hormones

Cruciferous veggies are nutrient powerhouses! Those of you that have been in recently have most probably heard me speak about the “Brassica”s a lot, trying to sneak them in to staple recipes (Cauliflower mash on a Shepherds pie; Broccolo and Almond soup, etc) to support hormone clearance. The Brassicas are a family of vegetables that include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, rocket, brussel sprouts, kale, collards, watercress, turnips, kohlrabi and horseradish. These vegetables are particularly powerful thanks to their glucosinolate content, which gives them their
delicious peppery and slightly bitter taste. When glucosinolates are broken down through chewing, chopping, blending and digestion, an enzyme called mironase is activated that converts the glucosinolates to indole-3-carbinol. It is indole-3-carbinol that gives cruciferous vegetables their punchy hormone regulatory effect.

veggies

How does indol-3-carbinol impact hormone levels?

The liver plays an important role in manufacturing and clearing hormones in the body. When the liver is not functioning optimally – rather than being cleared out, hormones can recirculate through the body and lead to hormonal excesses and imbalances. It is therefore essential that when a client is experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalances such as acne, PMS, menorrhagia, menstrual disorders, low energy, weight-gain etc. that we restore optimal liver functioning.

This is where cruciferous vegetables and its powerful constituent indol-3-carbinol come into play. Indole-3-carbinol supports the liver’s detoxification process through stimulating the enzymes required to remove toxins and hormones from the body. Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to selectively bind to oestrogen receptors, which has a regulatory effect on oestrogen levels in the body. This regulatory ‘balancing’ effect is therefore beneficial in both individuals with low and high oestrogen.

How to use cruciferous vegetables therapeutically

It is important to first determine whether your symptoms are due hormonal imbalances and if hormonal clearance and liver support is necessary. Speak to your health care provider to determine if this is you.

For mild cases of hormonal imbalance, aim to eat 1-2 cups of cruciferous vegetables daily, lightly cooked to reap it’s full benefits.

Examples include:
· Warm chicken and rocket salad with blanched asparagus
· Asian stir-fry with cabbage and broccoli
· Roasted Brussel sprouts tossed in garlic, lemon and olive oil
· Sourdough toast with smashed avocado and sauerkraut
· Slow cooked pork with a shredded cabbage slaw
· Broccolini frittata with a side of sauerkraut.

For more severe or longstanding conditions, supplementation may be necessary. Again, this is best determined by your nutritionist or naturopath so be sure to run it past them first.

A word of warning…

If you suffer from an underactive thyroid then be sure to slightly cook your cruciferous vegetables. These veggies contain goitrogens, which is a natural compound that inhibits the body’s ability to use iodine, an essential element required for the formation of thyroid hormones. Lightly cooking cruciferous vegetables will significantly reduce the
levels of goitrogens.

Enjoy!

A Brassica a day can certainly do wonders to keep the Doctor away 😉

Tabitha & Madeleine

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