Silly Season: 6 Tips to Staying Healthy during the Christmas Season

Hello Everyone,

With the year coming to an end and the Christmas party season upon us, our health and fitness goals may start to fall by the wayside. Our healthy diets and lifestyle can easily be thrown out the window as we start to overindulge in richer food, drink more alcohol and have less time to spare to dedicate to exercise.

According to Nutrition Australia, on average Australians can gain between 0.8-1.5kg over the Christmas period. While 1-2kgs might not sound like much, studies show that weight gained during the holiday period is rarely lost in the new year. In today’s blog, Nutrition Nourishment will share 6 Tips to help keep you happy and healthy all throughout the holidays.

6 tips to staying happy and healthy during the Christmas season. 

Tip 1: Include more antioxidant foods in your diet.

These are the foods that are often brightly coloured red, orange and yellow. Antioxidants have the ability to neutralise free radicals that otherwise do damage to our cells and accelerate aging. Free radicals are unstable atoms or molecules within the body that have been created by oxidation through such things as pollution, preservatives and additives, radiation, smoking, and unprotected sun exposure. Enhancing the diet with antioxidant supplements such as vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, lycopene, and  lutein can also be an option. These five have the added benefit of also being photo protective. This means that they may increase the skins ability to protect against UV rays and reduces the chances of sunburn and skin damage.

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Tip 2: Drink more water

Dehydration is a common skin condition and can quickly become a problem in the summer heat. Increasing water intake is important throughout this season, however some people still become dehydrated. This loss of water has been shown to adversely affect skin making it feel papery and thin whilst also decreasing mood and energy levels. In times like these people often turn to sports drinks to rehydrate; I recommend using sports drinks only when performing strenuous exercise for > 90 minute intervals.  Otherwise adequate water consumption will provide your body with the necessary hydration it needs without the need for sports drinks.

Another option is coconut water which has less sugar content and will be absorbed faster. It also has fewer kilocalories, less sodium and more potassium than most sports drinks, which may be a better option for some individuals. Daily consumption in moderation.

Tip 3: Get your Daily Dose of Vitamin D

Most people associate vitamin D with healthy bones. What some might not know about this vitamin is that it also plays a vital role in regulation of sex hormones and mood. The main way to get vitamin D is to expose bare skin to sunlight however the use of sunscreen, working indoors, air pollution, location, and some dress codes may limit our exposure to the sun. Supplementing with a vitamin D product is one way to ensure that our vitamin D levels remain optimal and can help to protect us against depression or waning libido.

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Tip 4: Eat more dark chocolate

The flavonoids in dark chocolate may protect against skin damage and UV rays. The consumption of flavonoid-rich chocolate also increases skin circulation giving the skin that special glow whilst also leading to improved skin hydration. Make sure you get > 70% dark as this will have less sugar and a higher flavonoid content or better yet buy raw cacao powder and add it to your smoothies and desserts. Dark chocolate is also known to be a mood and memory booster and a good source of magnesium.

Tip 5: Homemade Juices to aid in Detoxification

Juices that contain natural diuretic foods such as celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger, beetroot, and pineapple help the body to increase its urine output. This in turn helps to eliminate toxins, reduce fluid retention and can ultimately result in feeling less bloated and looking slimmer. Fresh juices are also a great way to get your daily recommended serving of veggies.

Tip 6: B Vitamins for Energy and Wellbeing  

Next time you are feeling drained of energy consider B vitamins in your diet; include foods such a green leafy vegetables, lean quality proteins, eggs, and whole grains. B vitamins are water-soluble and get flushed quickly from the body. Increased alcohol consumption at Christmas time can deplete our bodies of important vitamins such as B1, B2 and B6. If you feel your diet is lacking these vitamins, it may be worthwhile finding a good complex B vitamin product to provide all eight B vitamins that are essential for peak health and energy production.

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One step at a time

The most important thing to remember is if you find yourself overindulging this Christmas is to not beat yourself up about it. Tomorrow’s another day to make smarter and healthier choices!

Further reading….

http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/

https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/

https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

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The Mindfulness Series: Chapter Four. Exercises for Stress Management.

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the Mindfulness Series. In this fourth and final chapter we cover details on beneficial exercises and practices that may help decrease levels of stress and increase happiness and well-being. We have detailed a few relaxation and meditation exercises that be may used in stressful situations.  At the end of this chapter there is a list of websites you may want to visit.

Here are some guidelines for using relaxation exercises:

1. Try to practice whichever exercise you prefer at least once or twice a day. Expect your ability to relax to improve as you continue practicing, and expect to practice two or three weeks before you become genuinely proficient. Once you learn how to do one of the exercises, you may no longer require the recorded instructions, and you can tailor the exercise to your own liking.

2. Avoid practicing within an hour before or after a meal (either hunger or feeling full may distract you). Also avoid practicing immediately after engaging in vigorous exercise.

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3. Sit quietly and in a comfortable position, with your legs uncrossed and your arms resting at your sides. Or, if required lie down on your back, with your arms beside you. This is especially important when you are first learning the exercise.

4. Adopt a calm, accepting attitude towards your practice. Don’t worry about how well you’re doing or about possible interruptions. Instead, know that with repetition your ability to relax will grow.

5. When you are ready, close your eyes, begin listening to the recording, and follow the directions. As you complete the exercise, you can expect your mind to wander a bit—when this happens you can simply re-direct your focus back to the recording.

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6. Once you’ve finished, stretch, look around and remain still for another minute or two.

7. As you become skilled with your chosen exercise, try applying it to specific situations that might otherwise be anxiety provoking, such as tests, oral presentations, difficult social situations, job interviews, insomnia, and so forth.

Exercise Tips:

1. Initially, until you become familiar with the exercise, it may be best to have someone read the exercise to you while you close your eyes and sit in a comfortable chair. Alternatively, if you would like to do it alone, you can record the exercise and play it back to yourself.

2. When you tense your muscles, you should hold that tension (as comfortably as you can) for around 5 to 10 seconds. Then, stay in the relaxed state for at least 10 seconds.

3. A very important piece of this exercise is bringing awareness to the feelings of tension and relaxation. Therefore, throughout the exercise, make sure you are paying attention to these feelings and noticing how different your muscles feel when you move from tension to relaxation.

Practice mindfulness in 15 minutes (1)

4. Practice regularly. The more you practice, the more it will become a habit, and the quicker you will be able to bring about relaxation when you are tense.

5. Make sure you do at least two cycles of tension-relaxation for each muscle group.

Progressive body relaxation exercise using tension/relaxation

Relaxation exercises can be a very effective way of reducing your stress and anxiety. One relaxation exercise called progressive muscle relaxation focuses on a person alternating between tensing and relaxing different muscle groups throughout the body. In this way, relaxation is viewed like a pendulum. More complete relaxation of your muscles can be obtained by first going to the other extreme (that is, by tensing your muscles). In addition, by tensing your muscles (a common symptom of anxiety) and immediately relaxing them, the symptom of muscle tension may become a signal to relax over time.

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Difficulty: Easy;

Time Required: At least 30 minutes

1. Sit in a comfortable chair and bring your attention to your left hand. Clench your left hand to make a fist. Pay attention to these feelings of tension. Then, let go of your fist, letting your hand rest against your side or the arm of the chair. Be aware of how different your hand feels in a state of relaxation as compared to tension. Then, make a fist with your left hand again, then relax it, continuing to pay attention to how your hand feels in states of tension and relaxation. Repeat this procedure with your right hand.

2. After you have finished tensing and relaxing your hands, bend both hands back at the wrists in order to tense the muscles in the back of your hand and in your forearms. As before, pay attention to what this muscle tension feels like. After you have tensed these muscles, relax them, also paying attention to what this state of relaxation feels like. Repeat.

3. Make a tight fist with both hands, and pull your hands toward your shoulders. This will bring tension to your biceps. Be aware of this tension and then relax, allowing your arms to drop loosely to your sides. Pay attention to how your arms now feel. Repeat.

4. Shrug your shoulders as high as you can. Pay attention to the tension as you do this. Hold it, then relax your shoulders. Let your shoulders drop. Notice how different this state of relaxation feels compared to when your shoulders were tense. Repeat.

5. Now, bring attention to your face. Wrinkle your forehead. Tense those muscles and hold this state. Notice the feelings of tension. Then, relax those muscles completely, being aware of these feelings of relaxation. Repeat.

6. Close your eyes as tightly as you can. You should feel tension all around your eyes. After holding this state, relax. Recognize differences in how relaxation feels as compared to tension. Repeat. Clench your jaw, biting your teeth together. Hold this tension and then relax. Repeat. To finish relaxing the muscles of your face, press your lips together as tightly as you can. You should feel tension all around your mouth. Examine how this tension feels. Now relax your lips, and in doing so, let go of that tension. Be aware of how this feels. Repeat.

7. Move your awareness down from your face to your neck. Put your head back and press the back of your head against the back of the chair you are sitting in. Feel the tension in your neck and then bring your head back to relax it. Repeat. Now bring your head forward. Push your chin against the top of your chest. Feel the tension in the back of your neck. Hold it, then relax. Notice how different tension and relaxation feel. Repeat.

8. Direct your attention to your upper back. Arch your back, sticking out your chest and stomach. Notice the tension in your back. Recognize what that tension feels like. Then, let go of that tension, bringing about deep relaxation. Allow those muscles to become loose. Be aware of what that relaxation feels like. Repeat. Take a deep breath. Breath in as much as you can. Fill your chest with air until you can feel tension throughout your chest. Hold it and then release. Repeat. Notice your muscles in your chest getting more and more relaxed.

9. Then, tense your stomach muscles. Notice how that tension feels and then relax those muscles, again paying attention to that state of relaxation and how different it feels from tension. Repeat.

10. Now move your awareness to your legs. Lift your legs up and stretch them out. Feel how tense the muscles in your thighs are. Then, let your legs drop, relaxing your thigh muscles. Pay attention to the different sensations of relaxation and tension. Repeat. Tense both of your calf muscles. You can do this by pointing your toes upward. You should feel the pull of your calf muscles as they tense. Notice that feeling. Then, let them relax. Let your feet fall, bringing about relaxation in your calf muscles. Notice that feeling, too. Repeat.

11. You are now done tensing and relaxing all muscles in your body. Scan the different muscles groups covered, and bring attention to any lingering muscle tension. If you find any, bring relaxation to those muscle groups, continuing to notice how different your body feels in a state of relaxation.

pace-yourself2

One step at a time

Walking meditation when experiencing strong feelings. Often when we walk we do this to get somewhere, it is a means to an end. In a walking meditation the aim is not to reach a goal, but to draw awareness to the walking itself; it is an end in itself. This means walking slowly and with awareness of every step you take. It is a great way to calm down or simply take your mind of things that are bothering you. This walking meditation is adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh (1991), who is a Vietnamese monk working in France. He called the book in which this is explained Peace is Every Step. Making peace through walking can be used when you have strong feelings that are bothering you; whether it is anger or sadness. Walking with awareness, especially in nature will help you to come to terms with those feelings. Recite to yourself whilst walking: Breathing in, I know that anger is here Breathing out, I salute the anger Breathing in, I know that anger is unpleasant Breathing out, I know this feeling too will pass Breathing in, I draw strength from nature Breathing out, I focus on the walking

Note that anger is there, it doesn’t say you are angry, in other words, you don’t interpret your anger, identify with it or otherwise let it dominate you: anger is there, that is all. From this perspective there is a distance between you and the anger and it becomes just another emotion that is sometimes there, and sometimes will not be there.

Nutrition Nourishment hopes you’ve enjoyed the Mindfulness Series and found useful information on managing stress levels and self-care techniques. It’s important to take time out of your day, even 15 mins to recharge and nourish your soul. Whether it’s going for a short walk, making a cup of herbal tea and sitting outside, meeting with a friend or taking a long bath. Self-care will reduce the likelihood of burnout and lead to a happier and more productive life.

If you haven’t already don’t forget to check out the Other Chapters in this series. Links Below.

Chapter One: Burn-out. More than a Stress Response.

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/the-mindfulness-series-burn-out-more-than-a-stress-response/

Chapter Two: Self Care and Building Resilience against Stress

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/the-mindfulness-series-chapter-two-self-care-and-building-resilience-against-stress/

The Mindfulness Series: Chapter Three. How Meditation and Mindfulness Beat Stress

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/11/02/the-mindfulness-series-chapter-three-meditation-and-mindfulness-to-beat-stress/

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

The Mindfulness Series: Chapter Three. Meditation and Mindfulness to Beat Stress

Hello everyone,

Welcome to the Mindfulness Series. In this chapter we will discuss how meditation and mindfulness can help to manage stress levels.

Emotions, meditation and mindfulness It is easier to deal with the stress and hassles of life when you’re also aware of what is right in your life (Carlson, 2007) Although most of us try to avoid stress and suffering, we all have times in our life where we have to engage with stressful situations and suffering. It is how we engage with suffering and how we feel about what is happening to us that plays the central role. Some people are blown this way and that, according to the strength of their emotions. But we all know others who seem to be more resilient even in the face of outwardly similar experiences. How can this happen? It is true that some people have a ‘naturally’ calm and peaceful disposition and others are less resilient, more volatile and reactive. Medical research has confirmed the age old knowledge that meditation and relaxation practices increase our resilience and coping skills, enhance our sense of well-being and happiness in spite of life’s tribulations.

Kabat-Zinn (2005: 320) agrees that how well we deal with stress and suffering depends on our ability to be aware. In fact, he says that ‘awareness is the defining characteristic of our species’. It is important to understand that suffering cannot be taken out of life: e.g. sickness, death and loneliness cannot necessarily be made ‘better’. However, with mindfulness we can learn to take the reactivity out of our relationship to such experiences – whether they be positive, negative and neutral.

Mindfulness is a ‘deceptively simple way of relating to experience’ (Germer, 2005: 3) or, in other words, it can support ‘a special relationship to suffering’.

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What is it to be mindfulness?

Mindfulness implies conscious awareness, but more than awareness, it also suggests care, memory and intelligence (Kearny, 2008: 1-2). He distinguishes three aspects of mindfulness:

1. The present experience must be clearly registered, as it is… without judging it

2. The present experience must be held within the context of the whole, including past experiences

3. The present experience must be seen in the light of unfolding, continuing engagement as it changes over time

The mind has been dubbed ‘monkey-mind’. It has been depicted as a horse in full gallop with the rider (the ‘I’) having no control. And the Buddha likened the mind to a wild elephant, which needed to be trained by tying it to a strong post. The nature of the mind is to move, to follow clues and so wanders into the past and the future and often is not at home in the present. By doing that the mind is taking a holiday and we are mindless. So, why would we want to steady the wandering mind and not just enjoy the ride, the holiday? To gain some clarity, let’s have a look at mindlessness.

What does it mean to be mindless?

• Rushing through life/activities without being attentive to what is happening right now

• Day dreaming, killing time and escaping in fantasies

• Treating people or things carelessly, without attention, because the mind is somewhere else

• Failing to notice (subtle) sensations in the body, such as physical tensions or discomfort

• Being out of touch with one’s (subtle) emotional states and affects

• Forgetting people’s names as soon as we hear them

• Snacking or drinking without being aware of tastes and textures

• Having accidents (small and large) due to inattentiveness

• Having superficial relationships with oneself as well as with others

• Craving and addictive behaviour

• Disassociation and boredom with life’s experiences

This list doesn’t describe a healthy sense of self, nor of a rewarding relationship to the world. It rather describes a dull, unimaginative life, where there may be a constant chase for more experience, craving, disappointment and eventually dissatisfaction. It is not hard to see that this may be the foundation of much of the unhappiness and stress in our world today.

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In being present to each moment we create a new list that now looks like:

• Being attentive- to life and to what is happening right now

• Treating people and things with care and attention, because the mind is present

• Noticing (subtle) sensations in the body, such as physical tensions or discomfort – so we can take appropriate actions

• Being in touch with one’s (subtle) emotional states and affects – so we can take appropriate actions

• Knowing people’s names as soon as we hear them

• Snacking and drinking with awareness of tastes or textures

• Having fewer accidents because there is attentiveness

• Having more meaningful relationships with yourself as well as with others

• Less craving and addictive behaviour, because it can be seen into

• Engagement with life’s experiences

Mindfulness creates an experience of ‘aliveness’, which is a major source of much of human happiness and well-being. Whatever the external circumstances, being in the present moment changes our relationship to those circumstances.

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Meditation

We can become more mindful and present in many ways, but the common denominator is the intentional practice of focusing the spotlight of our attention (mind) gently on what we intend to observe. Although it doesn’t really matter how we train the mind, the Buddha wisely focused on the breath as ‘the post to tie the elephant to’ (the elephant being the restless mind). Meditation is steadying the mind and practicing being present by quietly following the breath.

Mindfulness can also be learned by ‘walking meditation’, participating in any attentive relaxation practice, such as: scanning the body; focusing on an object (eg candle); observing our thoughts; writing mindfully about our thoughts; dancing or painting with awareness. It is in the nature of mind to go over and over things and to wander aimlessly around the same few thoughts. It is the job of the practitioner to notice this and to say to oneself: ‘the mind is wandering again’. At this point the practitioner goes back to the breath. Be aware not to let mind training the mind become another source of suffering or comparison. You do not need to measure yourself up against others, to ask ‘am I doing this right?’ or ‘she seems to be doing it better than me’ or ‘I have failed because I haven’t achieved a calm mind’. Remember, it is the sitting that matters – not how well you sit. As you practice, it will become easier to sit quietly and steady the mind. It is also nonsense to say ‘that was a bad meditation’, meaning the mind was all over the place. Simply noticing the distraction is useful in itself. If one thought persists or a pain is in the foreground, abandon following the breath and make the exploration of that thought or discomfort the object of your meditation. Explore all aspects and levels of this event mindfully, again training the mind to pay attention rather than to wander. Acceptance needs to come before change can happen. Only then can we respond to life, rather than to react. And the change will be a greater sense of well-being and ease. Meditation helps us to be at peace and to accept life as it is.

We hope you are enjoying the Mindfulness Series. If you haven’t already don’t forget to check out the Other Chapters in this series. Links Below.

Chapter One: Burn-out. More than a Stress Response.

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/the-mindfulness-series-burn-out-more-than-a-stress-response/

Chapter Two: Self Care and Building Resilience against Stress

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/the-mindfulness-series-chapter-two-self-care-and-building-resilience-against-stress/

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Carlson, R. (2007) Don’t sweat the small stuff: 2007, Day to Say Calender, Andrew McMeel Publishing, Kansas City

Germer, C. (2005), ‘Mindfulness: What Is It? What Does It Matter?’ in Germer, C. Siegel, R. and Fulton, P. Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, The Guilford Press, New York

Kabat-Zinn, J. 2005, Coming to our Senses, Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness, Piatkus, New York

The Mindfulness Series: Chapter Two. Self Care and Building Resilience against Stress

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the Second Chapter of the Mindfulness Series. In this chapter we will discuss self-care and how to build resilience against stress.

Self-care Relaxed people can still be super-achievers, and, in fact, relaxation and creativity go hand in hand (Carlson, 2007). There are many ways to prevent burn-out and to restore a lifestyle balance that produces ease rather than stress. Self-care involves paying attention to the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of your life. The following lists include many suggestions which are adapted from a website dedicated to stress release and relaxation that is worth visiting as it has some excellent resources (http://www.nvoad.org/articles/ESCCchapterB.pdf).

Not all of these suggestions need to be applied, but one area of self-care may come more naturally to you than others. That way it will be more pleasurable to do which increases the likelihood of you doing it. Becoming less stressed involves being kind to yourself, so it is important to choose activities that do not add to a list of demands you cannot fulfill (and thus bring additional stress). Looking after yourself can be fun if you choose pleasurable and easy suggestions which may involve the body (a long, hot bath), the mind (listening to lovely music) or giving yourself the time to sing or paint. Most of these self-care activities involve some sense of personal growth, expansion and validation of your personal needs. Like any development, it needs practice. Sometimes it helps to document the journey of self-care, as a way to count blessings, to review deep beliefs and to affirm one’s own strengths and needs. It means a conscious engaging with some of the ideas mentioned above.

Some of the ‘side effects’ of the activities mentioned above will be that you are more able to:

• Set realistic goals

• Be assertive and maintain your boundaries

• Change negative thought processes into positive ones

• Avoid ‘toxic’ situations

• Engage in positive conflict resolution

• Maintain a sense of humour and good health

• Practice forgiving, also of self

• Develop positive relationships

• Improve your communication skills

Petrea King suggests that looking after yourself must be your highest priority. Do you think that it is selfish to put yourself first? It certainly sounds like that and especially women are taught to look after everyone else before taking a rest themselves. As a result, women (and men too) often from suffer stress related illnesses or feel depressed and unhappy. How productive can you be if you are not at peace, not relaxed and happy? Looking after yourself means that you can give from an overflowing well of energy, love and care. It also means giving everyone else permission to care for themselves well.

Physical Self-Care

• Eat regularly (eg breakfast, lunch, dinner)

• Eat healthy, fresh food with plenty of fruit and vegetables

• Find a pleasurable exercise routine

• Get regular medical care for prevention and health

• Take time off when sick

• Have a massages, acupuncture or beauty treatment

• Dance, swim, walk, run, play sports, sing, or do some other physical activity that is fun

• Take time to be sensual and sexual–with yourself, with a partner

• Get enough sleep

• Wear clothes you like

• Take vacations, day trips or mini-vacations

• Make time away from telephones

Psychological Self-Care

• Notice your inner experiences — listen to your thoughts, judgments, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings without judgment

• Let go of perfectionism: do something silly or be simply imperfect

• Talk with friends and have a buddy support system

• Practice receiving from others

• Write in a journal: Be curious about life

• Do relaxation exercises, get a relaxation CD that you like

• Have your own personal psychotherapy or counselling

• Read literature that is unrelated to work and uplifting

• Do something at which you are not expert or in charge

• Decrease stress in your life by removing the clutter

• Make to do lists and prioritise them giving yourself plenty of time

• Let others know different aspects of you

• Say NO to extra responsibilities 8

Emotional Self-Care

• Be kind to yourself, engage in self-nurturing, self-mothering

• Spend time with others whose company you enjoy

• Stay in contact with important people in your life

• Give yourself affirmations, praise and love

• Find ways to increase your sense of self-esteem

• Acknowledging strength, positive points

• Boundaries: learn to feel OK about saying NO and putting yourself first

• Change thought processes that are not self-affirming

• Avoid negative people or negative communication

• Re-read favourite books, review favorite movies

• Identify comforting activities, objects, people, relationships and places

• Allow yourself to cry

• Find things to make you laugh

• Express your outrage in social action, letters, donations, marches, protests

• Contribute to causes in which you believe

• Play with children, animals or grown-ups Spiritual Self-Care

• Make time for self-reflection

• Practice acceptance and kindness for self and others

• Spend time with and in nature

• Find a spiritual connection or community

• Be open to inspiration from teachers and people you admire

• Read inspirational literature (talks, music, etc.)

• Cherish your optimism and hope

• Be aware of nonmaterial aspects of life

• Practice forgiveness for self and others

• Identify what is meaningful to you and notice its place in your life

• Meditate, sing or pray

• Be open to Not Knowing and experiences of awe (http://www.nvoad.org/articles/ESCCchapterB.pdf)

A side effect of learning to look after yourself is that you learn new skills that can be used in your personal as well as in your family and professional life. For example the ability to turn adversity into an opportunity becomes a change for personal development. It also means that you are developing life skills that contribute to greater happiness and well-being of all people around you. Paradoxically, looking after yourself means becoming more able to be of service for others!

Nutrition Nourishment Hopes you’re enjoying the Mindfulness Series and taking what information is important and beneficial for you at this time in your life. It’s  never too late to begin to understand yourself better and to find happiness for your soul

If you haven’t already don’t forget to check out Chapter One in this series. Links Below.

Chapter One: Burn-out. More than a Stress Response.

https://nutritionnourishment.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/the-mindfulness-series-burn-out-more-than-a-stress-response/

Healthiest regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

The Mindfulness Series: Burn-out. More than a Stress Response.

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the Mindfulness Series. A holistic guide to self-care and stress management. There are five chapters in this series. The first chapter explains what burn-out is and the signs to look for. The second chapter look at how to build up resilience against stress and how to better look after oneself. The third chapter explains how meditation and mindfulness can decrease stress levels. The fourth chapter details some exercises and practices that may be useful to decrease levels of stress and increase happiness and well-being. The last chapter points to web-sites that contain relaxation exercises, audiovisuals and other interesting information.

Stress is endemic to the human condition, whether it is inflicted upon us or self imposed. Even if we take good care of ourselves, there may be times in our life where it is all too much. In fact, many contemporary issues such as information overload; news programs about war and suffering, global warming and economic down-turn all add to our stress levels. Old age, sickness, death and pain all involve suffering related to the physical body. Stress can also arise because of mental activity (our thoughts about things) and involves our needs for security, safety and relationship not being met. Although we all share these needs, the impact upon us is depends on many inter-related factors: genetic; conditional; societal.

Burn-out is the result of being exposed to undue stress or not being able to cope with the demands of work and life stress. According to (Tagar, 1999) there is a simple stress equation. The ratio between ‘demand’ and ‘stamina’ determines the stress levels. Simply put, the stress levels equate to the gap between what you can do and what is expected of you (or what you expect of yourself). However, it is more complicated because stress, a serious problem for health care workers, is not equally experienced and some people are more prone to burnout.

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Some of the risk factors are, according to Espeland (2006):

Internal factors:

  • Personality type, eg high achievers with a need for control and over commitment
  • Loss of control being with the outside world (victim) rather than with the self (capable)
  • Coping styles, eg passive or defensive rather than assertive
  • Attitudes, eg having high expectations and being negative rather than realistic and positive
  • Negative self image
  • Feeling low
  • Level of self development and self-efficacy
  • Level of leisure taken

External factors:

  • Unsupportive work or home environment
  • Stress and difficulties at work or home
  • Underpaid and overworked
  • Demands exceed possibility to fulfill them
  • Lack of intimacy with others

How we spend our days is, of course, How we spend our lives (Annie Dillard)

Some signs of burn-out and stress may include a loss of appetite or excessive eating,  Sleep disorders, Chronic feelings of ill health,  Irritation and psychological disturbances- negative emotions , Manic activity and procrastination, loss of purpose and meaning.

We know that in order to stay healthy, the body needs adequate rest, food and exercise. The body suffers under too much stress, because muscles tense, blood pressure rises, food is not well digested and sleep is disturbed. High levels of stress hormones are being released continuously. If not released, enduring stress can become ‘toxic’ with major consequences for health and happiness (Tagar, 1999). As a result our resilience, both physical and emotional goes down and we become less effective in the work we do, and more prone to accidents and eventually disease.

This all seems quite logical but, in reality, we often are not looking after ourselves well when stress mounts. On the contrary, we often become less able to do the ‘right’ thing for ourselves. We start eating more junk food, watch more TV and may even self-medicate with excessive drinking. We may sleep less, or more and can’t get motivated to exercise or do relaxations. In short, we don’t look after ourselves!

When to Seek Help

Stress is prevalent in modern life, especially in health care. This is ironic, as health care workers are trained to look after others, but often not themselves. It is recommended that you seek assistance from a counsellor, your medical doctor or from a mental-health professional who is skilled in the treatment of stress if:

  • You are experiencing high levels of distress
  • You are experiencing significant changes in relationships
  • You are not functioning well at work for longer periods
  • You are self-medicating with alcohol, too much sleep or drugs
  • You are unable to find relief with self-help strategies
  • You are experiencing physical problems

Barriers to Seeking Help/ Helping loved ones dealing with stress include the following:

  • Some people may feel that they are better off than those more affected and that they, therefore, should not be so upset or seek help
  • Some may not seek help because of pride or because they think that distress indicates weakness of some sort
  • Some individuals may not be open to support, if the intervention was not requested (eg a lecture, sermon or rituals)
  • Many individuals are more apt to seek informal support from family and friends, which may not be sufficient to prevent long-term distress for some

This can be an isolating condition and it’s important to know you don’t have to do this alone. Remember to speak up and seek help.

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

References

Espeland, K. (2006) ‘Overcoming Burnout: How to Revitalize Your Career’, Continuing Nursing Education, Vol. 37, Issue 4, pp 178-185.

Tagar, Y. (1999). Stress. Medicine of the Mind. I. Gawler. Melbourne, The Gawler Foundation.

Smart Snacking: Bring Some Balance into Your Diet.

Hello everyone,

The most common complaints I have in clinic are people struggling with energy levels, especially in the afternoon. It all comes down to balancing macronutrients during meals, and smart snacking. Finding some quick, easy and affordable snack options to keep energy levels high, blood sugar balanced and hunger at bay is easy with a little inspiration. Protein-rich, nutrient-filled snacks like the ones below can be a great way of bumping up your nutrition intake for the day – and are a delicious excuse to take a break from study and have a little down time. Some other great examples are:

  • Raw almonds/nuts/seeds
  • Dates filled with nut butter
  • Brown rice cakes with almond butter and cinnamon
  • Veggie sticks (carrot, celery) with hummus
  • Green apple smeared with peanut butter

I’d love to hear any of your go-to snack ideas too!

Simple Snacks

Greek Yoghurt, Cinnamon and Nuts

Simple as that. Just add a sprinkle of cinnamon to a few spoonfuls of Greek Yoghurt, top with any nuts or seeds you have (I love buckinis and walnuts!) and enjoy! Add some berries for an extra Vit-C and antioxidant hit! We also have a couple of homemade granola options in the  “breakfast” recipes section on our website.

Here’s a simple example: 

Mix together: 2 C Organic Steel-Cut Oats, 3/4 C Coconut Flakes, 1/2 C Chopped Almonds, 1/2 C Chopped Walnuts, 1 tsp Cinnamon Spice, 1/2 tsp Nutmeg/allspice, ½ tsp cardamon, 2 Tsp Chia Seeds, 4 Tsp organic virgin pressed coconut oil, Melted, 1/2 C Maple Syrup/Rice-Malt Syrup, 1 tsp vanilla. Optional: Dried cranberries/apricots. Pour the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread into an even layer to ensure an even roasting. Bake for 30 minutes or until granola is a nice golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure an even bake.

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Healthy Sweet Potato Wedges

First things first, preheat your oven to 180°! You want it nice and hot so the wedges go extra crispy. Just cut your sweet potato into chunks, arrange on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper or some cumin if you feel like spicing things up! Place in the oven and 30-35 minutes later you’ll have some perfectly cooked sweet potato wedges.

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Bliss balls

Bliss balls are the best grab-and-go snack – make a batch for yourself today and you’ll be set for the week! These Almond butter and Protein Bliss balls are perfect for regulating your blood sugar levels and providing a healthy boost of good fats! Yum!

Here’s a simple example:

Add to food processor: 2 scoops vanilla protein (any pea/rice, organic variety), 1 tbsp almond butter, 2 tsp maple syrup, 2-3 dates (pitted), 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, 1 tbsp coconut flour, pinch of sea salt, 1/4 cup of water. Process until ingredients start to bind together. Roll into balls and top with extra almond butter and cinnamon.

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Smoothies

Smoothies are another easy snack option. Just blend up some easy-to-find, pantry-staple ingredients and pour into a glass – or jar!

Everyone’s Favourite: 

SUPER CHOC BANANA BERRY SMOOTHIE – SERVES 1

This sweet, chocolatey, berry goodness will make you feel as though your having a cheat day, however your body will thank you for the high intake of nutrients, and antioxidant-rich superfoods. This will aid your body to fight free-radical, remove toxins, detox, and rebuild. 

Ingredients:

1 Frozen Banana

Handful Mixed Berries

2-4 Pitted Medjool Dates

1-2 tsp Cacao Powder

1 tsp Chia seeds

1 tsp Maca Powder

1 tsp Beetroot powder

1 Tsp of Goji Berries

½ Avocado

2C milk of choice (Soy, Almond, Coconut)

Handful Ice

 

Method:

Blend all ingredients together to form a smooth consistency. Enjoy!

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Don’t forget to check out all the recipes available for free on the website for some more delicious inspiration!

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Hidden Food Allergies: The underlying cause of chronic illness

Hello everyone,

Here is a question that we probably never think to ask ourselves… Is it possible that the foods that we eat (even supposedly healthy foods) are the cause of our chronic illnesses?

Migraine Headaches, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Asthma, Depression, Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue, Panic Attacks, Eczema, Chronic Allergies, Arthritis, Sleep Disorders including sleep apnea and snoring all may have a common cause… hidden food sensitivities. Attention Deficit Disorder, Chronic Ear Infections and even Autism in our children have also been linked to foods that they may be sensitive to.

All of us are familiar with overt food allergies… this is the kind of allergy where the food is consumed and within minutes or hours a reaction occurs, which can range from hives all the way to anaphylactic shock. This is known as a Type 1 food allergy, which involves the IgE antibody, and is very easy to self-diagnose… you eat the food and you have a reaction.

The IgE antibodies attach themselves to “mast cells” which, when activated by the offending food, release histamine and other chemical mediators producing classic allergic reactions such as hives, wheezing, swelling, stomach cramps, diarrhea, or more rarely, anaphylaxis. These cells are located in the linings of the digestive tract, urinary tract, skin, and airways, and surround small blood vessels.

Less well known and much harder to self diagnose are the Type 3 food allergies. A different antibody causes these reactions… IgG. The mechanism by which IgG antibodies evoke their allergic reactions is through the formation of immune complexes of antibody attached to food particles. The complexes circulate throughout the body via the bloodstream, rather than being attached solely to mast cells; they may affect any tissue, organ or system of the body.

Whereas the Type 1 allergies only occur in 2-3% of the population and are obvious when they happen, the Type 3 allergies may occur in up to 95% of us, and may not show up for 2 to 3 days, or sometimes up to a week, later. This is why they are known as “delayed-onset” allergies or sensitivities.

There are two main difficulties encountered when figuring out what is really going on with the foods that we eat and which ones we are reacting to negatively. First, because there is not an immediate response, it is difficult to pinpoint which food caused the problem… was it the broccoli that you ate 3 days ago or the bread you’ve had every day for the past week or the sesame oil that was used to prepare the stir-fried chicken and vegetables from the carry-out the other night?

The second complicating factor is that the actual reaction that you have may be in a form that you do not normally associate with an allergy. You know those cluster headaches you’ve had since you were a teenager? Or that irritable bowel issue that seems to crop up at the weirdest times? Or that low-level depression that your doctor keeps telling you is just a Prozac deficiency? Or that skin condition that prescription creams don’t seem to work for anymore? The list goes on and on… and the reason goes back to a keen understanding of the complex nature of how the body works… it all happens because these IgG antibodies can attach themselves to any tissue or organ that you have… and then disrupt normal functioning!

A disturbing fact is that most of us are reacting to anywhere from 3 to 10 different foods in this manner, sometimes up to 20 foods. And they are often foods that we think of as being healthy for us… milk, wheat, vegetables, fruits, nuts. Foods implicated in type 3 allergies are frequently favorite foods commonly eaten in large amounts.

It is important to note that a food intolerance, for example lactose intolerance due to insufficient lactase enzyme to digest milk sugar, is not a food allergy; however, intolerant individuals often suffer from allergy to cow’s milk. Casein, a milk protein, is one of the most common allergens in the Standard American Diet (SAD). Soy protein is also high on the list of common offenders, making soy products a poor substitute for dairy, unless testing has deemed it a “safe” nonallergen.

Other common food allergens include gluten (from wheat and other grains), yeast, corn and eggs. Chemical food additives, preservatives, and food colorings can also contribute to the problems of food allergy.

You may ask why it is that we come up with these allergies in the first place. I believe the answer is found by closely examining our dietary habits today compared to those from the vast majority of our history. Throughout history, we have eaten foods that were grown locally, picked fresh, and did not contain additives, preservatives, colorings, flavorings, etc. Furthermore, we ate the foods that were available to us according to our climate and the particular time of year.

Today, we eat what is known as a “monotonous” diet, even though we may not really be aware of this fact. Monotonous means repeating the same foods over and over again; not necessarily boring. There are many foods that we eat that appear and taste different, even though the base ingredients are the same… thus is the magic of modern food technologies. Many of the prepared foods that we eat use the same ingredients as flavorings. Furthermore, our diets today contain a large percentage of grains, compared to ancient cave man diets, which had no cereal grains.

Of course, none of us eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables, and you can usually count on two hands the variety that we do eat. In other words, our repertoire of foods has become less and less varied as time goes on. The constant, repeated exposure to the same food is the reason the body creates a mechanism to make you change your habits… the creation of the IgG antibodies is your bodies attempt to make you pay attention and make a change in your diet.

Unfortunately, in today’s medical climate, we respond to the health problems we have by prescribing pills instead of making substantive changes in our lifestyles, including changing what we eat. In fact, we are so far removed from that process now that we don’t even realize what is occurring.

So how do we find out which foods may be the ones to avoid? Skin testing, by the scratch test, as well as certain IgE blood tests identify type-1 food allergies only, but not type 3. Delayed type food allergies require an ELISA blood test that detects IgG antibodies to the problem foods.

Once the hidden food allergies have been identified, then the hard work begins… these foods need to be avoided! When tested, food allergies get reported in two levels… foods to avoid and foods to rotate.

The foods to rotate are ones that have registered a minor allergy and should be eaten no more often than every 3 days. Foods to avoid need to be avoided for up to 6 months, then reintroduced one at a time to test for continued reactivity. Retesting is sometimes warranted. Occasionally, there are foods that need to be avoided for longer periods of time.

Sometimes avoiding these foods may produce cravings and withdrawal or increased suffering instead of relief. There are often times strong emotional ties to certain foods, and the breaking of these cycles can be a trying experience. Eventually the withdrawal symptoms will subside and then you start feeling better. If cravings occur, they will usually only last a few days!

At the same time, care should be taken not to eat a monotonous diet consisting of “safe” foods, or new allergies may develop to these foods over time.

There are a whole host of nutritional and herbal supplements that may be helpful in dealing with these hidden food allergies and your body’s response to these food. They include:

  • Digestive Enzymes – a plant based digestive enzyme will help your digestive tract be more efficient at breaking down foods into their smallest parts.
  • Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM) – this is a naturally occurring form of sulfur that helps to calm your body’s over-reaction to inhaled or ingested allergens.
  • Essential Fatty Acids – these “healthy” fats are anti-inflammatory in nature and help with overall gut and immune system function.
  • Quercetin  – this bioflavanoid works to stabilize mast cells, thus it is known as the natural anti-histamine.
  • Probiotics – these “good bacteria” play a vital role in the normal functioning of the gut and help with digestion and assimilation of food. They also play an important role in proper elimination and immune function.
  • Glutamine – this amino acid is basically “fuel” for the gut cells to help them reproduce and function properly.
  • A Multi Vitamin – including Vitamins A, B-6 & C and Minerals like Magnesium & Zinc, which all play important roles in proper gut function and repair.

All of these supplements help to eliminate the food allergy, improve gut health, remove toxins from the body, fight inflammation, and improve immune system function.

So, as it turns out, there are many foods that you may think are healthy that actually are at the root of many of your chronic health conditions. Chances are that the foods you are reacting too are ones that you eat on a regular basis (maybe even have cravings for) and you likely have no idea that they are cause for concern.

Care to try an experiment? Determine which food is the most common in your diet and then completely eliminate it for 3 weeks. I’m willing to bet you start to feel better… and that may come in the form of better energy, better sleep, better mood, or the beginnings of control with your blood sugar, blood pressure or even a little weight loss.

Healthiest Regards

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Love your guts: Solutions for Optimal Digestive health and Function

Hello everyone,

Gut health has become hot topic in the media of late, but in traditional Naturopathic Philosophy it is a core essential for optimal health. Not surprising then, that management of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is a key step in managing almost all other body systems. The gut is a complex machine and dysfunctions can have profound influence over other body systems. As a result of this complexity, managing digestive disorders isn’t always a simple process, and there are many other contributing factors that can lead to GIT dysfunction.

Within the digestive system there are six main areas that we can influence based on the Naturopathic principles. These areas must be functioning optimally in order to maintain health and wellbeing. These are viewed below:

Diet

The food we consume provides the body with energy and nutrients requires for metabolic pathways, but also has a strong influence on digestive health. For example, a diet high in refined carbohydrates and saturated fats may result in dysbiosis (imbalance) of the gut.

It’s important to make food choices that help to support and nourish the digestion including fruits, vegetables, fibre, good quality proteins, fatty fish, nuts, seeds and wholegrains. Some individuals with food intolerances/sensitivities may benefit from elimination diets, and FODMAPS, however, these diet should be a short-term option.

Enzymes

Most food consumed contains nutrient complexes that are too large for the body’s cells to utilise. In a healthy system, digestive organs secrete acids and enzymes that break down nutrients to make them small enough for the cells to metabolise. When digestive secretions are reduced due to an imbalanced system, nutrient absorption is also compromised and may need prescribed digestive enzymes to function properly.

Bacteria

As more research continues into the world of the human micrbiome, our understanding of the importance of the balance of microflora in the GIT is increasing. Microbial imbalances can refer to pathological bacteria being present in the gut but also inadequate levels of beneficial bacteria, both of which can result in unfavourable ‘terrain’. this can have detrimental impact in the gut and on many other body systems, particularly immunity. This balance can be restored through the use of anti-microbials, good quality probiotics and diet/lifestyle corrections. The foundation of Naturopathic medicine.

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Barrier

There are three main lines of defence in preventing bacteria from penetrating the gut barrier. First line, immunoglobulin A (IgA);which binds bacteria and therefore, keep those bacteria in the digestive tract where they can do less damage.

Second Line of defence is mucous. This is a physical barrier between the gut lumen and the epithelium which prevent bacterial adherence to epithelial cells. Nutrients such as glutamine, zinc, vitamin A, fibre, turmeric and Aloe Vera increase levels of IgA and improve mucosal integrity.

The third line of defence against bacteria in the GIT is the epithelial cells. These cells have selective permeability designed to exclude detrimental particles and absorb beneficial items such as nutrients from food. In sub-optimal digestion, the tight junctions between these cells can open, causing leaky gut. This allows foreign particles to penetrate the gut barrier.

Immune

Did you know 70% of immunity is in your gut?

Immune balance is influenced by the gut microbiome, and in turn, gut microbiome is influenced by immune balance. Immune-driven inflammation in the gut can lead to barrier dysfunction, so it’s important to address immunity when considering gut health.

The immune system can be treated with individual specific immune protocol and the gut microbiome can be brought back into balance. Probiotics, zinc, vitamin C and glutamine all assist in maintaining the health of immune cells, and balance of the microbiome environment.

Enteric Nervous System

Have you heard the commonly held belief that the body’s second brain is the gut? This is referred to by the enteric nervous system (ENS) and its role in digestive health. The ENS regulates the behaviour of the GIT including motility and gastrointestinal secretions. managing stress an supporting the nervous system can have a massive impact on the gastrointestinal system. This can be particularly apparent in individuals with medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

And remember you are more microbiome than you are you. Feed them before they feed on you. Support your system with a balanced, whole food diet, learnt to manage stress, exercise, particularly outdoors and spend time tuning into your spiritual side. This is all part of loving your self and loving your guts!

Healthiest regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.

Mineral Salt Therapy: A look into Calcium Fluoride

Hello everyone,

Mineral therapy refers to a treatment program that uses mineral supplementation to improve a person’s health and wellbeing. Just like mineral imbalances in the soil affect the health of plants and animals, so too can mineral imbalances affect the health of humans. Mineral therapy was originally based on the Tissue Salts, which were originally identified by Dr. Wilhelm Schuessler of Germany in 1873. The Tissue Salts are also known as Biochemical Cell Salts or Mineral Salts, indicating their importance in the functioning of the human system. These salts are important for the functioning of the cells of our body and through getting these in balance we enhance our health and well-being.

Mineral therapy processes some extraordinary advantages such as affordability, efficacy, safety for all ages, easy to use and very little/no side effects as the mineral salts are made using a low dose that is easily absorbed by the body to enter into the blood stream for utilisation immediately after consuming to ensure fast, effective therapy.

In today’s blog, nutrition nourishment is going to look into one of the key minerals prescribed in mineral therapy known as Calcium Fluoride. Read below to find out the key features, actions, indications, deficiency body signs and symptom qualifications.

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Overview 

When fluoride is incorporated into bone it is found as Calcium Fluoride; It is essential for humans for its role in mineralisation of teeth and the crystal structure of bone. Approximately 99% of total body fluoride is found in the bone and teeth as fluoroapatite. Fluoride alters the composition of bone, as it stimulates the apathy crystal lattice of bone mineral by replacing the hydroxyl group of hydroxyapatite and converts it to fluoroapatite; this process is more pronounced in teeth than bone. The fluoroapatite crystal structure has greater stability compared to hydroxyapatite and gives remarkable strength to bones. At peak bone strength in humans, 4-6% approx of the hydroxyl sites in bone mineral are substituted by fluoride ions.

Bone, Skin and Teeth

The surface layer of the tooth enamel contains the highest concentration of fluoride in the body. High levels of fluoride are toxic, however, when presented at low levels, bone mineralisation is promoted and demineralisation is inhibited. The fluoroapatite crystal is more resistant to attack and it is in this way that fluoride hardens dental enamel which inhibits enzymes that promote dental caries. The role of fluoride in skin integrity stimulates the connective tissues.

Key Actions and Indications

Fluoride plays a role in the mineralisation of teeth and the crystalline structure of bone. Fluoride increases the integrity and strength of connective tissues including the bone, ligament, tendon, cartilage and tooth enamel. Bony overgrowths, defective tooth enamel, prolapse of connective tissues, crack/fissures in epithelial tissue, haemorrhoids, varicose veins and a decrease in integrity of gastric mucosa are come of the symptoms experienced with a deficiency of fluoride in the body.

Body Signs

Nails: Cracked skin around the nail bed.

Iris: Straight lines radiating from the centre of the iris like spokes from a wheel (radii solaris), Dilated nerve wreath and prominent blood vessels in the sclera.

Tongue: Cracks down the centre of the tongue, sometime multiple lines may be present.

Symptom Qualification

A person with a deficiency in Calcium Fluoride may feel worse for damp, cold weather.

Remember:

Calcium fluoride aids in conditions involving tendons and ligaments, strengthens connective tissue, aids in tissue elasticity, which may assist with tissue prolapse, varicose veins, cracked skin and haemorrhoids.

Disclaimer:

**Nutritionnourishment recommends consulting with a physicians if you are experiencing any health concerns and to never self-medicated as it may cause some unwanted side effects. **

If you would like more information regarding Mineral therapy or Calcium Fluoride, click on the links below.

http://www.biochemic-remedies.com.au

http://mineraltherapyonline.com

http://blog.aias.com.au/index.php/naturalmedicinecollege/summary-of-the-uses-and-study-of-mineral-therapy/

http://schuessler-cell-salts.com/basic-cell-salts/1-1-calcium-fluoride.htm

https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/calcium_fluoride

Healthiest Regards

Nutritionnourishment

Bad Eating Habits- How to Break Them

Hello everyone,

Would you believe it if I told you it is possible to eating deliciously satisfying foods, that are also good for your body, without experiencing the feeling of restriction? Perhaps not. Media advertising, social media and society has pushed us into believing we will not be happy until we reach a particular size/weight/look. This is often a sensitive topic for a lot of people, so a little warning in case some of these eating habits below are a little upsetting for you. Nutrition nourishment wants to send out messages of encouragement and support to anyone out there who is struggling with their diet/eating habits, or feeling confused and unbalanced with their relationship with food. We all deserve to enjoy food in a way that makes us happy-both mentally and physically.  So if you’re interested in learning how to break some of the most popular bad eating habits experienced, keep reading!

 

Bad Habit to Break: Keeping Tempting Foods Around

It’s hard to resist temptation when it’s staring you in the face. When office workers were given candies in clear dishes to place on their desks, they helped themselves to candy 71 percent more often than a similar group that was given the same candy in opaque dishes so that the candy wasn’t visible, according to research by Brian Wansink, Ph.D., director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in Ithaca, New York. “We’re all on the ‘see-food’ diet,” he says, “so don’t let yourself see what you don’t want to eat.” Do yourself a favor and keep tempting foods out of your sight. If you’re going to keep snacks at home, stash them inside a cupboard; keep apples out on the counter.

Bad Habit to Break: Skipping Breakfast

You might think that skipping breakfast—a whole meal!—would help you cut calories, but the research says that eating breakfast can better help you lose weight. Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less and are more successful at losing weight—and keeping it off—than those who skip the meal. What’s more, people who typically eat breakfast also get more fiber, calcium, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, zinc and iron—and less fat and dietary cholesterol. Perhaps it’s because they often eat cereal, which is fortified with vitamins and minerals, and fruit, which is naturally nutrient-rich. Not hungry when you first get up? Don’t worry. Eating breakfast doesn’t have to be the first thing you do each day. Just make sure that when you do eat, your meal is something that will sustain you for a few hours—it should include some fiber and protein.

 Bad Habit to Break: Distracted Eating

You’re eating alone, so you reach for your smartphone and text, scan social-networking sites or play games. Or you read the paper, watch TV or use your computer. All of these distractions take your attention away from eating and make it harder for you to really experience and tune in to how satiated/full you are. That can lead you to eat more than you’re really hungry for, either now or later. A recent study showed that playing solitaire (on the computer) dampened people’s memories of lunch, which, in turn, may have caused them to eat 530kj more when they snacked later.

Bad Habit to Break: Eating Straight Out of the Bag

If you’re noshing directly out of the package—whether you’re eating chips, crackers, cookies or ice cream—it’s easy to eat several servings without realizing it. A key step when you’re trying to lose weight is literally watching what you eat—being aware of what and how much you’re eating. That’s why keeping a food journal is so effective. Get a handle on runaway portions by measuring out a serving…if you want more, measure that too. Being conscious of what you’re eating will help you meet your weight goals.

Bad Habit to Break: Eating on the Run

Eating in the car, snacking at your desk, drinking a high-calorie smoothie or latte while walking around—it’s all too easy to take in excessive calories if you’re eating on the go. To curb this type of distracted eating, sit down to eat.

Wishing you the best of luck with creating health eating habits that work for you and your body while making you happy. One good question to ask yourself before you reach for the junk food is..  “Is this (food) really what my body needs right now? or Am I just eating out of habit/boredom/emotions?”

Would love to hear from our readers, please leave a comment below if you have experienced any difficulty with eating habits? Know that you are not alone and you do not have to suffer.

As always Healthiest Regards

Nutritionnourishment