Nutribullet, Vitamix, Magic Bullet or other blender smoothie mix ‘n’ match choices
There are many reasons I recommend a smoothie or blended drink to clients. Often this is simply to move them away from drinking loads of juice that discards the fibre present in vegetables and fruits; so important to slow down the release of their carbohydrates as simple sugars into the bloodstream. Having more bulk and less sugar also helps support good gut health, as too much juice can also contribute to an imbalance of gut bacteria and affect digestive, immune, hormonal, skin and mental health.
A smoothie is a great way to ensure more vegetables are included in our diets and acts as a great vessel for other goodies all in one delicious package. We can add in many things that we might want to take but prefer not to swallow in pill or capsule form.
Personally, I also find them a great way to use up some of those vegetables and fruit needing to be used up….
It is part of our human condition to seek and want; desire is part of our motivation dynamic. As babies we first feel this when the desire to reach a toy or procure some food provides the impetus to learn to roll over or cultivate eye-to-hand coordination.
In this article, I will mainly discuss cravings for sugars and sweet foods, but many of the mechanisms and cycles described can equally apply to anything we crave. Not just food stuffs, but also general ‘stuff’ – having more, seeking and acquiring (think window shopping or Ebay trawling!) – in an attempt to fill a void or distract ourselves from being with uncomfortable feelings and emotions. They are also the roots of any addictive behaviour, from smoking to over-working, from alcohol to over-exercising, any behaviour of excess or that we feel ‘normalises’ us, can be examined from a few angles that can help free us from acting on our impulses and feel we have the liberation of choice.
We are always going through phases of change, whether we notice them as substantial or not. This January one can often seem like the motherload though, with high expectations and suggestions coming at us from all angles.... whether it's giving up something, doing something else or fixing that thing that is 'wrong' with us, there is a sense of this ideal, other self that we should be.
There is a phrase doing the rounds at the moment that is particularly pushing my buttons; "be the best (or better) version of yourself" - eh? What on earth does that mean? To me, there is an implication that if all the boxes are not ticked, I am simply not good enough. I guess it's the word version I react to there - we have so many facets to our beings that to judge some as good and others not so much adds in to our cultural norm of self-criticism.
I do believe in constant awareness of which unmet needs I am playing out for sure, but have learnt that I need to be mindful of looking at the unconscious...
"With Christmas comes the onslaught of brightly coloured wrappers and decorated boxes adorning chocolates, biscuits and sweets. For some, this represents dietary abandon with the resolution to bring it all round in the New Year.
But some of us have had enough of that swing and prefer not to feel like we’re lurching from a sugared-up state that leaves us feeling sluggish, bloated and, well, a bit dirty, to somehow suddenly having the willpower to give it all up come Hogmanay. So let’s unpick some of those Christmas habits in order to maybe evolve some healthier ones...
While original yuletide feasts were designed to celebrate coming together as communities to nourish and fuel for the winter months, human’s love of the sweet stuff seems to get a free pass at Christmas. It can even seem conspiratorial when, if you politely decline the third round of mince pies of the day, you can receive sideway glances that make you feel like you’re Scrooge.
Personally, a few...
Whilst original yuletide feasts were designed to celebrate coming together as communities to nourish and fuel for the coming deep winter months, human’s love of the sweet stuff seems to get a free pass at Christmas. It can even seem conspiratorial when, if you politely decline the stollen cake, you can receive a sideways glance that makes you feel like you’re Scrooge.
Personally, a few years back I reached the limit of feeling like c*&p after each Christmas Day finally arrived – sluggish, head-achy, tetchy and with raging sugar cravings – and longing for when all the so-called ‘Christmas food’ was finally gone. I have a tendency to want to hoover up sugar just to get it out of the way, so this can seem endless with so much around!
For those of us with sugar-addictive tendencies, constantly having it around can be a major source of stress.
Many of my clients get pretty agitated going to meetings where there are always biscuits and the...
It's easy to lose our sense of satisfaction and need-over-want at this festive time, but finding ways to stay connected can make the whole shebang leave a better taste in our mouths in the aftermath...
So the big question is, can we retain a sense of 'enough already' in the face of excess? The lead up to the main event is a good time to step back, take stock and see how Christmas is permeating our lives and our expectations.
Are you dizzy as a child at the thought of Santa’s touchdown or feeling the heavy burden of endless present-buying or relatives descending? Personally, I tend to feel quite different each year… BC (Before Child) I used to be able to get full-on festive one year and then positively ignore its existence the next, just enjoying some holiday time without the razzamatazz.
Now I’m swept up in the childhood vision of it all, it’s a time to experience with my daughter what I wish it to be; not about buying and getting yet more stuff, but...
Happy, regulated mood is where life can feel most calm, easy and enjoyable. Yet many often feel in the grip of a rollercoaster rise of emotions, inner criticism, worry and self-doubt. These can include periods of low mood that can make existing daily feel extremely difficult and even downright exhausting.
Whether this falls into a label of ‘depression’ or not, from a holistic point of view, there are some key potential underlying causes that may offer potential change in how we view ourselves and the world. Attending to the self-care we need to be able to cope and find a more positive outlook can in turn allow us to participate in activities that we know elevate our mood. Humans have a naturally raise in mood and motivation via the reward neurotransmitter dopamine when we do anything that propagates survival of the species; eat, drink and exercise, but as pack animals, also through group bonding and cooperation, so group activities, sports, talking, eating together and...
With so much emphasis on what to eat, the how can get rather left behind, but the full process of digestion – breaking down and absorbing food – demands as much calm and mindfulness as any aspect of our yoga practice. When this is compromised, partially digested food in the gut can cause gas, bloating and contribute to IBS symptoms.
Time, stress and habit often see us bolting food or eating on the go without much thought. Optimal digestion needs energy resources fully directed to the gut and any movement quickly reroutes it out to the muscle; including just standing and using postural muscles. Stress also sends a signal to prepare for protective physical movement and again, muscle wins out. We feel a tense body, often including gripping and tightness in the belly as digestive processes are halted. Our digestive tract has nervous system activity of its own and you really can trust ‘gut feelings’ as a measure of stress.
It is the parasympathetic or calming and...
A quick guide to some scary words
Numerous substances, including sugars, are added to our food to render it more attractive to us. It can make the food a better colour, prevent it going off, or just improve the look and mouth feel. The important consideration is that these are synthetic compounds, some with well known negative health effects, and most importantly we really don’t know the long-term effects of consuming these chemicals. Many that were once deemed safe decades ago have now been banned due to further research or side-effects seen.
The only real way to avoid the chemicals that fill our supermarkets is to prepare food from natural ingredients that you have prepared yourself, but let’s be realistic – sometimes we all need a little convenience.
There are other health considerations to food choices of course, but if we can firstly rule out ingredients that can be actively detrimental to our health, then we are onto a good start. Paying a bit more money for...
How often do you find yourself working over lunch or suddenly noticing that lunchtime has simply slipped by as you’re absorbed in a task?
It can seem all-important to get that job done and stopping for lunch can slip way down in priority. So if you ever find yourself gulping down a sandwich you barely taste over your keyboard, read on. The reality is that taking time away from work and nourishing your brain is the intelligent choice – skipping lunch and ploughing on is actually a false economy, leaving you depleted resources and the reduced focus that low blood sugar can bring.
Bupa research has shown that only 30% of the average workforce taking an hour’s lunch, feeding into 48% feeling their productivity levels slump in that tricky mid-afternoon slot where they lose nearly 40 minutes of work time.
That higher number suffering the 3-4pm energy slump can also be traced back to stress levels and skipping breakfast. Along with missed lunch, these factors all add up...
“Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates
In my blog series on Respiratory & Immune Support at Home, so far we have looked at your capacity for self-care, focus on the breath and focus on lifestyle factors to do at home. In these blogs, we have covered:
- Our respiratory system and the importance of creating energy in each of our cells.
- Our immune system – how we can help our bodies to work in harmony to be able to operate a defence system against invaders.
- Breath awareness and how every single time we inhale or exhale, each of these actions is directly linked to our immune system.
- Different types of breath and the beneficial impact they have on us, e.g. nasal breathing, mouth breathing and diaphragmatic breathing.
- The all-important factor of oral hygiene, lymphatic health and stress reduction to aid our bodies’ self-defence capacity.
This week we are looking at diet and...