For more information,visit may28.org
For more information,visit may28.org
In a society that views putting ones needs first as selfish and over-indulgent,the subject of self-care can be a sensitive one.More so when you are a woman who is supposed to put everyone above yourself. However, looking at the high number of women experiencing chronic fatigue and on the verge of a burning out, it is clear that this practice is flawed.
Ask me,I’ve been there.
About 10 years ago I found myself flat on my back unable to take care of myself and the people I thought I was sacrificing everything for. I was exhausted,highly irritable and feeling disconnected with myself. After a stint in hospital,I made sure to pencil in self-care in my routine.
I wish I could say I’ve been religious in following my routine.
‘Life’ slowly crept back and the ‘busyness’ of being a woman,mother,wife and working woman took over and I found myself struggling again. I had to learn that self-care is not an event. To be successful,I have to make it part of my lifestyle. This is something I want other women to learn too.
The word self-care seems self explanatory but our understanding may be limited. Self care is any activity that you voluntarily undertake which helps you maintain your physical,mental and emotional health ( so that time in hospital did not count as self-care). These activities must add to your life in a positive way and cause you no harm.So, no matter how happy it makes you feel, over indulging in alcohol or chocolates is not self care.Sorry.
If you experience the following on an ongoing basis,it could be time you learn to practice self-care
I am sure the above reasons are enough for anyone to want to start practicing self care. Psychotherapist Jenine Steinberg, in her article 4 Reasons to Prioritize Self-Care , goes deeper into what I also think are important reasons to make self care priority.
Where routine self-care is lacking,stress may take over and lead to total burnout.Physical and mental health becomes at risk. Illness may result.You want to stop the wheels turning before you land in a deep dark place.
I have put together a very short list of ideas you can start practicing.Pick one or two and begin treating yourself like you would a dear friend.
1.Take time to connect with nature. Relax under the stars and breath in fresh air with mindfulness. Take a walk along the beach and taste the salt in the air.Walk in the park and smell the flowers.Awaken all your senses as you reconnect with yourself in nature.
2.Be Selfish.Do something for no reason other than that you want to and it makes you happy.Be like a child and put the spotlight on you and allow yourself to glow in positive light.
3. Unplug. Switch off all your devices and just be.Even if it’s for an hour.I promise the moon will not fall from the sky because you are unreachable but you will marvel at the freedom of being unavailable.
4.Practice saying YES to yourself.Most of us have no problem saying YES,but it’s usually to things that we should be saying NO to. Think about it;what is your knee-jerk response when a girlfriend asks you out for drinks or a spa day? Do you immediately say yes or your first thoughts rush to whether this outing will fit your children’s or partner’s schedule?Do you consider it wasting money to treat yourself yet say yes without hesitation when your children ask for random treats?
5.Speak kindly to yourself. Most of us will have no friends if we spoke to them the way we speak to ourselves.Think carefully about the language you use in your head.It can build you up or break you down. It’s your choice.
6.Date yourself. Yes,just you and yourself. Pick a day,time,activity and place to be with yourself.Fill this time with positive things that bring you pure joy and satisfaction. Block it out in your diary, send out an out of office message an hang out a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign at your door. Make no compromises.
7.Eat for nourishment. Change the way you think about food. Imagine what will happen if we started to view healthy food as treat. I imagine it would be something we look forward to,something we crave. Healthy eating is a big part of the self care practice. A healthy body is better equipped to handle stress than one that is poorly fed.
8.Move. Your body has built in happy juices called endorphins which are released when you exercise. Find a form of exercise that fits your personality and lifestyle and enjoy it and you will experience joy.
This list is limited. The goal is to get you thinking and to help you start practicing self care like a boss in no time.Self-care is not an expensive,time consuming indulgence. It is a necessary expression of love for yourself.It helps decrease stress and increases productivity.It may help you avoid physical an mental illness.By loving yourself enough to prioritise yourself,you can approach your work,family and social relationships with a clear and happy mind.
The benefits of routinely practicing self care far outweigh the perceived expense in time and money. It’s in that spirit that I am hosting a 1 day Guilt-Free Self-Care Retreat for busy women who can only give themselves a day to focus on just filling up their cups because they know,you can not pour from an empty cup. If you are in Durban or know a special woman in Durban who deserves a day off,please come through,it promises to be a soul enriching event. Bookings are now open.
How and how often do you practice self-care? I’d love to hear from you.
My love affair with sweet potatoes started a long time ago. My mother does not eat white potatoes, but give her sweet potatoes and a different woman emerges. She can have them for breakfast, lunch and supper.
Growing up I ate both white and sweet potatoes with gusto. In fact I practically lived off fried chips (French Fries) during my varsity days. They made them and smothered them in mushroom sauce (oh the memories, I am salivating just thinking of that bad calorie fest) But hey, I was young and careless.
I still love my potatoes but not as much as sweet potatoes. This is purely based on preference not on nutrient value or health benefits. There is a lot of debate and misinformation regarding these well-loved, tubers but pitted against each other, they stand neck and neck in nutritional value.
High pigment sweet potatoes contain are rich in Vitamin A prevent effects of deficiency which include night blindness, scaly skin and dry tissues.
2. Improvement of Blood sugar regulation.
While they are high in sugar, the high fibre content in sweet potatoes slows down the rate of digestion thereby regulating blood sugar.
3. Contains antioxidants which neutralise free radicals.
This leads to reduced oxidative damage associated with some types of cancers, heavy metal residues and other digestive tract problems.
4. Aids digestion
The high fibre in sweet potatoes supports a healthy digestive tract and regulates digestion
5. Anti-inflammatory properties.
Bright coloured sweet potatoes contain pigment related antioxidants which are beneficial to general heath and have anti-inflammatory powers.
6. Heart Health
Potassium in sweet potatoes may help to lower blood pressure and regulate heartbeat.
Ok, back to the fun stuff-how I like to eat my sweet potatoes. I prefer to roast them with a little salt and just eat them as is. The other day I made a mean lasagna and just used the sweet potato slices instead of lasagne sheets. But my absolute favourite, favourite has to be sweet potato crisps/chips.
If you ever tried making sweet potato chips, you know it takes skill and many failed attempts. For one thing, sweet potatoes are notorious for refusing to get crisp. I found the secret to crisp sweet potato chips in a recipe I am sharing today.
To do them right you also have to have the correct equipment. Enter the mandolin. I never knew what this was for until I was serious about making my own vegetable crisps. The mandolin will help you cut the thinnest slice, a good step towards crispness. You can try to use a sharp knife but I got better results using a mandolin.
Lastly, you have to watch them like a hawk. There is a thin line between burnt and crispy chips. Don’t cross it (like me, many,many times)
I encourage you to try a variety of ways to get incorporate sweet potatoes in your diet. There are plenty vegetarian sites which offer 101 ways with sweet potatoes. I found this…
Try your hand at making these chips, you won’t buy another packet of commercial chips.
World Health Day 2016 : Beat DiabetesGive your heart some love Hypertension is also called the silent killer because many individuals walk around with no clue that their blood pressure is high as it does not present with obvious symptoms. It is only by having your blood pressure measured that you can know your status. It’s in this spirit that the 2016 theme for World Hypertension Day is ‘Know Your Numbers’.
It is the measure exerted by our blood on the blood vessel walls when it passes through the arteries.
Since we all have blood flowing in our arteries and veins transporting gases and nutrients throughout the body, we all have blood pressure. The normal blood pressure is 120 Systolic and 80 Diastolic or 120/80
When the arteries and veins are constricted or lose their natural elasticity they become narrow. Smaller vessels mean that the heart has to work harder to pump the blood and that causes the blood pressure to increase.
A reading of anything over 140/80 is considered high blood pressure in adults. When these numbers go beyond 180/100, it is considered an emergency.
The most common cause of hypertension is linked to poor lifestyle and diet choices. This is usually characterised by the following:
Other common causes include:
Yes. One simple way is through monitoring one’s lifestyle.
Even when you have been diagnosed with hypertension, making the above changes may help to reverse the condition or at least manage it.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to the following:
By visiting your doctor, clinic or hospital. Pharmacies like Dischem, Clicks and others also offer BP screening at a nominal charge.
With these simple changes you can prevent and manage high blood pressure and enjoy improved quality of life. You deserve it.
Who goes to sleep with great anticipation for the morning to come so they can go to gym?
Physical exercise takes a lot of discipline, even the keenest gym bunny has a difficult time now and again. It’s no surprise because our bodies are always looking for the path of least resistance.
In 2002 The World Health Organisation (WHO) elected 10 May as ‘World Move for Health Day’.This annual event aims to encourage and promote physical activity as an important part of a healthy lifestyle and total well-being.
There is more to exercise than weight loss. But before I give you reasons to get moving, let me tell you about the different types of training and their benefits.
Although there are different methods to categorise physical activity, I like to put exercise under 3 basic categories
This type of physical activity increases the heart rate and can improve lung capacity. What this means is that your heart and lungs will have a greater ability to transport oxygen to the body. More oxygen circulating=> healthy body=> improved quality of life.
Other health benefits from endurance training include the following:
The good thing about this type of exercise is that you do not need gym membership to do it. Fast walking, running cycling, swimming, playing soccer or dancing are all examples of endurance activities
Did you now that strength training burns more calories than endurance (aerobic) exercise? Muscle tissue is very active and as such lean tissue means higher metabolism which equates to more fat burning.
Strength training strengthens our muscles and other connective tissue i.e. ligaments, tendons and this helps to prevent injuries.
Many women avoid strength training in fear of getting ‘bulky’ but this is not based on fact. Strength training is highly recommended for women because it strengthens bone density which helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Many activities that strengthen our muscles can be done in the gym and at home. Here are a few examples: training using weights (dumbbells, kettle bells), stretch bands and also body weight when doing sit ups, squats.
It is unfortunate that a lot of people do not pay attention to this type of training yet it is a vital part of a well-rounded exercise routine (it’s also my favourite).
Flexibility training will help you to restore full range of movement to the joints after training and help increase length and flexibility the muscles.
With benefits like these, flexibility training should be an integral part of your training routine not an afterthought.
Exercises to improve flexibility include Pilates (my favourite), yoga, tai chi and callanetics to name a few.
This is just a broad category that I use as a point of departure, there are more exercises within each category so there is no reason not to ‘Move for health” every day. There is no doubt that the benefits of physical activity far outweigh the temporary pain.
Personally, I do not like exercise that much but once I get my butt out of the door, I do not regret the hour or two I spend at the gym. My current gym schedule looks like this
Monday: 1 hour Pilates
Tuesday: 30 min Swimming
Thurs: 30 min Swimming
1h30 Pilates with weights
Saturday: I alternate between 5km Park Run or 5-10km Hike or 1Hr Pilates.
I have had to make changes to my routine since getting chemotherapy ( whose side effects include weakening of muscles) and surgery (which is still healing and is very sensitive to fast movements).I chose Pilates because despite it being low impact, it is powerful in strengthening the muscles, improving posture and balance. I am also hoping that swimming will help my arm heal and improve its range of motion. I can’t wait to get back to weight and to building a bit of muscle.
Of course you don’t need 2hrs in the gym to reap the benefits. All you need is 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. The key is consistency.The internet is full of easy no equipment workouts which suit beginners to advanced individuals. Try this combination which you can do at home in 30 minutes.I love that that it’s a total body workout that combines cardio and strength training too.
Get away from the couch, TV and computer and take a BRISK walk. Pick up skipping rope and jump on the spot for a few minutes and mix that up with couple easy exercises for effect. Play ball with your children-anything really to get you heart racing and your lungs working a little more for about 30 minutes is all you need.
On this Move for Health Day, make a decision to take care of your body because it’s the only one you have.
Did you know that 2016 is IYP?
That’s International Year of Pulses for you.
The 68th UN General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYP)
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been nominated to facilitate the implementation of the Year in collaboration with Governments, relevant organizations, non-governmental organizations and all other relevant stakeholders. The IYP 2016 aims to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition. http://www.fao.org/pulses-2016/en/
What does this mean for you and me? Well, to me it means I will be looking closer at the humble bean family and putting more effort into incorporating a variety on meat-free days.To most of us it also means re-educating ourselves and removing, in our minds, the poverty status beans and pulses have in our society. It’s time to elevate beans to their rightful super food status.
Beans, peas and lentils, collectively known as pulses, are the dried seeds of the legume family.
Science backs up what our grandmothers have told us : BEANS ARE HEALTHY!
They are a rich source of proteins and can be used as a meat substitute. Since they provide incomplete protein, they pack a more powerful punch when consumed combined with nuts, seeds and whole grain cereals. Soya beans, however, are one of only a few plant foods that provide all the essential amino acids, making it a complete source of protein like meat.
Pulses provide us with both soluble and insoluble fibre. While soluble fibre helps to decrease blood cholesterol levels and control blood sugar levels, insoluble fibre helps with digestion and regular bowel movement.
Most pulses contain about 1% fat, with the highest fat content being from soya beans. These are the good fats which contribute to our daily energy needs and provide us with essential fatty acids.
Pulses are rich in vitamins and minerals while being relatively low in calories. Some of the key minerals in pulses include iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Pulses are also particularly abundant in vitamin K, E, B vitamins including folate, thiamine and niacin.
Those who find that pulses lead to gas and bloating may find the following tips useful:
There is more to beans and pulses than the bean stew we grew up with. Explore. Look for mouth-watering recipes in vegetarian books and websites. My latest addiction is the chickpea and lentil burger I created basing it on Jamie Oliver’s Best Vegan burger which uses lentils and corn. For some strange reason I have not taken a picture of my creation (or maybe it was too good I could not wait to take a photo), so today I will share the recipe from Jamie Oliver. I promise to share my adaptation soon. If you have favourite vegan recipe using pulses, please share here.If not, I challenge you to create one and I will feature the recipes throughout the year.
Superfoods for a younger you!
7 day Miracle diet!
15 min Flab Attack routine!
And so it goes. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we seek quick fixes that torture our bodies instead of nourishing our bodies and souls every single day? Why do we find it so difficult to commit to healthy living?
But what is “Healthy living”? It’s not a specialised diet. It is not calorie counting and mixing powders. It’s definitely not how many hours you spend at the gym or in meditation. It is a constant and deliberate daily journey towards total wellbeing.
We are our bodies, minds and souls so it’s a no brainer that we should be treating ourselves more than just as passing thoughts. Of course finding time to balance healthy eating, meaningful exercise and to relax and recharge is quite a challenge in our busy lives, but can we afford not to make the time?
Our current lifestyles are not sustainable.The breakdown in our health,our relationships with others and ourselves tells us this. A change is needed.I find that when it comes to making changes,the trick is to just jump in and get started.Try these tips to get you started on the road to healthy living.If they worked for me,they are sure to work for you too.
Clean out your cupboards and remove all processed foods and avoid stopping by our favourite aunt’s (the name starts with W) to buy ready-to-go food. Yes they are quick to prepare and save you time but are the added chemicals, salts and sugars worth the risk?
Stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, organic meats and whole grains. The initial cost of switching might seem high but in the long term, the cost is leveraged by the improved well- being and overall health you will see and feel.
Make a habit of counting your colours not the calories on your plate. The Sunday seven colours are actually very good!
Following my surgery and the health shenanigans of 2015, I’ve been struggling with going back to gym. But then I realised I was tired and bored with my gym routine and I need a new routine. I am now excited about starting my swimming lessons and getting my strength back in Pilates.
Scheduling 3×30 minutes of exercise per week goes a long way towards improving your health. You get maximum benefit from exercise by varying your exercise between endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. The benefits of exercise go beyond weight loss. They include increased bone density, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol. And the feel good hormones that are released during exercise will make you feel on top of the world.
We all know we should drink 8 glasses of water daily but did you know that that includes tea, milk and juices? Considering that up to 70% of our bodies is made of water, the benefits of keeping hydrated cannot be understated. To get the maximum benefit, get the bulk of your hydration from pure filtered water; with zero calories it is the best choice.
Do something for you and only you. Read, pray, meditate or take a long bath-as long as you taking at least 20 minutes a day to just be with your thoughts.
For me shower times are sacred. I can not counts the times I have had epiphanies and AHA! moments during shower time. I have cried, not out of sadness but because I am overwhelmed by the sheer pleasure, peace and a connection with myself a simple shower gives me.
Simply put, take a break from all your devices; cell phone, tablets even your Fitbit. It will be a mistake to exclude taking time away from our electronics if we want to live a balanced and healthy life.
Did you know that there is a Digital Detox app? Yes, that’s how sad our situation has become. Try search for “digital detox” on Google and see what comes up. We now have digital detox retreats and challenges. In essence we have become slaves of our connectivity. At what price? Excessive preoccupation with our devices has potential to cost us our relationships, sleep, productivity and balance. That is a high price to pay for convenience.
We all know what happens when an addict goes cold turkey to break the habit. Without proper support, this method hardly works. It’s the same with digital addicts (read: me and you), we can start slowly. I have actually set time blocks on my phone to check emails, do my research and log on to social media.
Start by consciously staying away from your devices for 20 min and increase the times gradually (setting reminders for this is the best way) I know it’s a bit Type A, but so far it’s working well. The last face I see before I fall asleep is my husbands, not a stranger on Instagram. That’s progress.
What are other ways you can think of that can bring you closer to healthy living? I’d love to hear your ideas.
I am a human who aims to inspire other humans to feel, look and be the best they can be. I do this primarily through my work as a life and nutrition coach, and through my other skills and talents. I am also a mother of 2 young adults and a wife to an almost perfect man.
Outside the wellness world I love spending time in the outdoors, checking out joints that serve food cooked with the freshest ingredients, painting,fashion and, dancing. I will be sharing these loves and more in this blog and look forward to also getting to know more about you.
To help others build a healthy relationship with food and achieve optimum health through simple, clear nutrition education based on eating real food.
My Nutrition Philosophy
I call myself a NUTRIVORE (def.: “someone who eats nutrient dense food.” Urban dictionary). I am passionate about eating real food that has been farmed sustainably and organically.
My nutrition philosophy is based on these basic principles.
First and foremost I am a nutrition educator. My role is to provide information that assists in making healthy food choices without being prescriptive and restrictive. I am not for scale watching and numbers. My priority is to eat for health and nourishment and in doing so I find that weight loss happens organically.
2.Eating real food
If it is not found in nature, it has no place in my body. With this in mind I use food in it’s most natural form as much as possible. If I can’t spell or pronounce it, I don’t eat it. Simple.
3.Listening to my body
Our bodies are wired for self-preservation, it is up to us to listen. We have a tendency to ignore the signals our bodies give us to our peril. So I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. I drink when I am thirsty and, when I am tired, I rest.
Eating mindfully means focusing, savouring and fully experiencing meals. Mealtimes are not for multitasking. This means consciously shutting everything out and giving full attention to eating. Mindful eating also extends to what, how and where I buy what I consume.
5.Everything in moderation
This is more my life philosophy than just a nutrition philosophy but it applies. I eat what I crave in small portions if it is empty calories,because life is too short not to eat cake. Whether it’s eating, drinking, working, playing, exercising or whatever I do, there has to be balance.
These are the principles that guide the information I share during 1-on-1 consultations, group workshops and presentations, this blog and other social media platforms.
Please share what nutrition and diet topics you would like to explore, I’d love to hear them.If you need help and support reaching your diet goals or how to make changes to healthy lifestyle for you, your family or your workplace, get it touch and I will help you in your journey.