Whole Foods

 

This era has unlimited food on the supermarket shelves. We’ve got plenty of meats, vegetables, grains, oats, dairy products etc. However, not everything on the shelves is safe to eat in the long run. But there will always be one part of the supermarket that’s always going to be reliable and delicious; that’s whole foods.

 

So what are whole foods? Whole foods are a group of foods that has not been processed or went through minimum processing before being put on the shelves. Previously fresh meat and oils were also considered in the category. However, now that some meat contain antibiotics and hormones while we now know that even some oils are heavily processed before distributed. So nowadays, whole food are mostly fruits and vegetables that have not been processed or refined. Oats, legumes, beans are some of them.

 

cont.

 

So why are whole foods recommended so much? Firstly, they are not processed. This means, there are no additives in there. This means that everything is natural. The human body is made for digesting natural foods. Due to these additives and extra processing, it causes gut inflammation. Since out gut is inflamed, it’ll slow down any other healing process and make it look like there is a belly. Secondly, it decreases the chance of cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and other health problems.

This comes back to it being unprocessed again. When processing food plenty of chemicals, MSGs, fats and oils are added to a product. This chemical mixture is like a time bomb that is going to explode in your body. A build-up of these may causes unhealthy reactions in your body leading to cancers. Finally, they overflow with healthy nutrients. These food were literally designed for the human race to keep us going! They are filled with everything we need. Don’t get me wrong, supplements are extremely useful when used correctly. But most of our daily nutrition is already lie in whole foods!

 

So next time you pick up something from the supermarket, think bigger picture than is it yum? Whole food can be just as tasty if prepped right! So make sure you read the label carefully and choose what’s best for you body!

 

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 5 Sleep

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 5 Sleep

Sleep

Poor sleep habits can also contribute to unnecessary stress in the household…

If a child does not wake up easily and with energy each morning, this could indicate they are not getting enough quality sleep. This in turn will affect their personality, their learning and their health in general.

Tired children cannot concentrate, learn tasks, or play sports well. And just like adults, typically tired children crave sugary foods that leave them prone to yeast imbalances.

The parents role

As parents, we often miss our child’s ‘tired cues’ and then we have great difficulty trying to put them to bed when their brain has moved back into fourth gear. If your child consistently wakes up tired or is slow in the morning, then try getting them to bed an hour earlier for a period of time and watch how this can transform grumpy or emotional behavior. Over the years I have learnt that a set routine for dinner and bedtime makes getting to sleep earlier easier, and life easier for everyone. This means aiming to feed children early—well before they are tired. Plan an ideal time for bed and give yourself plenty of time for baths and the reading of evening books, etc. Some nights you will be able to have luxurious, long baths and other nights you will need to be drill-sergeant.

It is a good idea to limit the number of late nights that children have in a week. With social, school and family activities, bedtimes can gradually become later and later for older children; however, sleep requirements remain just as vital for teenagers as when they are younger. It turns out that teenagers may actually need more sleep than in their
younger years.

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 4 Immune System

By Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 4: GET DIRTY – Benefits to the Immune System

Many of us have been led to believe that germs are the root of all evil. And that we should go to great lengths to avoid them…

Anti-bacteria hand creams, sprays, and wipes, fill our handbags and counters. Yet, compelling research tells us that we have gone too far. Some exposure to pets, dirt, and other children, for example, are vital for stimulating the immune system to work effectively. In experiments where we grow animals in completely sterile (germ-free) environments, their immune systems do not develop normally. In a conclusion, they develop severe immune diseases, including allergy and autoimmunity.

When our “microbiome” (our internal network of helpful and harmful bacteria) becomes imbalanced, our digestion, immune function, state of mind, and general health and wellbeing in time become compromised. Scientists now believe, an imbalanced microbiome to be one of the primary causes of several diseases and disorders. Such as:

  • Chronic infection
  • Inflammation
  • Autoimmunity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cancer
  • Neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s, autism, and schizophrenia.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal just a few months ago stated that “the disruption of the gut balance [is linked] to an increasing number of diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergies, and asthma.”

Studies now tell us that exposure to dirt and germs is incredibly essential. We need regular exposure to bacteria and viruses to strengthen our immune system. In our own homes, among our own families, we want to take the opportunity to build up our immune systems.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Letting children crawl on the floor is fine, playing in the dirt is a good thing; we encourage having family pets and sharing a spoon with your sister is, again, fine.
  • Cleaning away visible dirt or grime on any surface — sinks, floors, or door handles with thorough washing and cleaning products that are free of harsh chemicals — is usually enough without constant sterilizing. And also using disinfectants such as bleach (which probably kills everything in the air around it, too!).
  • Washing our hands with simple soap dislodges and removes surface particles without stripping everything on the skin. Antibacterial soaps kill both good and bad bacteria. They also strip the skin of the environment it needs to sustain good bacteria.
  • Be less concerned about germs but instead focus more on considering how strong is your child’s digestive power and immune system.

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How To Make More Time For a Healthy Lifestyle

Everyone already knows what to do to be healthier. For starters, eating less processed foods and moving more is what you’ve heard since you were young. And guess what… It’s true! But then come the fancy diets and elusive theories that cause confusion. On top of that, you’re busy with work and kids and LIFE.

If you’ve been meaning to eat healthier and exercise more for a while, believe me, you’re not alone.

What’s required is a system of thinking, prioritizing, strategizing, and planning that identifies what’s important to you as an individual and the steps to get there without them being too overwhelming.

Of course, it’s not easy, but it’s highly rewarding once you start reaping the benefits. Let’s get started.

  1. THINK: Ask “why” 5 times.

  • Understanding why you want to achieve the goal you want to achieve is important because it digs deep to find your inner motivation to keep you going.
  • All you have to do is keeping asking yourself why until you end up with a reason that’s worth your time.
  • Here’s an example:
    • Why do I want to eat better and move more? Because I want to lose weight.
    • Why do I want to lose weight? Because I’ll look better
    • Why do I want to look better? Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.
    • Why do you want to feel good about yourself? Because when I feel good about myself I’m more confident and in control.
    • Why do I want to be more confident and in control? Because when I’m confident and in control, I won’t be scared to go for it and live out my dream.
  1. PRIORITIZE: Fill in the big rocks first.

  • Stephen Covey, the author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” gave the best analogy for prioritization: Think of your time as a jar that you can fill with rocks, pebbles and sand.
    • Your big rocks are the necessary things in life, like friends, family, health, career, and sleep.
    • The pebbles are the fun things in life that aren’t completely necessary but you love doing them, like playing piano, competing in sports, and discovering your passion for baking.
    • Your sand is all the bonus activities that are enjoyable but not at all important to your survival and fulfillment, like checking Instagram, playing video games and going out drinking.
    • Now if you fill your time with sand first, it wouldn’t make sense because then it’d be way more difficult to fit your rocks and pebbles in. But if you place your rocks first, and then your pebbles around them, and finally fill in the rest with your sand, then you’re good as gold!
  1. STRATEGIZE: Increase your activities 15 minutes at a time.

  • No one ever got everything done at once. When you find out the important activities that you want to do more of in your day, pick ONE of them. Replace 15 minutes of low-value activity with 15 minutes of that high-value activity.
  • For example, instead of 15 minutes of scrolling through Instagram, do 15 minutes of meal prep for the next day. You can even put in headphones and listen one of your favourite podcasts while you meal prep to keep it interesting.
  1. PLAN: Schedule it in your diary.

  • If you wait until you “feel like it”, a lot of your time will be spent doing less important things. Schedule it in and more importantly, stick to it!
  • BONUS: Review how you spent your time at the end of the week.
    • If you did a lot of low-priority stuff, reduce any triggers that make you want to do them. This may require you to move the TV to the basement or limit your screen time with an app. Or you can get an accountability buddy, such as a friends, colleague or partner.
    • If you simply didn’t have time, look into hiring out some of the tasks like getting a healthy meal delivery service or arranging a nanny so you can go to the gym.

Don’t get distracted, stay focused and you will get $%@& done 😉

This blog is sponsored by Little Ninja & Priorityfitness.

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Meal Prep 101

Life happens. And one of the best ways to make it through successfully is to make sure you’re prepared.

Meal prepping saves you time, energy and serves as your friend on the days when you get home late and every fibre of your being is against you making food. In turn, you end up spending less on eating out and having more energy by eating home-cooked, delicious meals.

Whether you’re keto, paleo, low-carb, or standard NZ diet, this simple guide will serve you well to have a fridge full of healthy meals for the week.

 

Prep steps:

 

  1. PLAN: Meal prepping starts on the weekend. Look at the week ahead of you and figure out the busy days for which you’ll need meal-prepped meals. Even if you don’t want to meal prep for the entire week, make sure that you schedule some time the day before to prepare a meal.
  2. THINK: Open notes or find a pad and pen to write some healthy meal ideas. Nothing fancy, keep it simple. For example, you could have some one-pot recipes on hand that can make huge batches like chilli, grilled chicken, roast veggies, and stir fry.
  3. SHOP: From that simple menu, create an ingredient list and go out to buy your meal prep ingredients. If you don’t have the memory of an elephant, be sure to bring a note pad with you or have your list on your phone notes to tick off as you go.
  4. COOK: Schedule one or however many days out of the week to cook. This could be every Sunday that you plug your headphones in with a good podcast and go hard at your meal prep for an hour and a half. Be sure to cook all the things that take lots of time to cook like your chicken, veggies, and potatoes. Prepping in bulk is best because it saves you heaps of time. Slicing a few carrots is as fast as slicing one, so make sure to prep everything you can in that set time.
  5. STORE: Finally, store your meal-prepped food in containers and make them accessible in the fridge. Be sure to also put the appropriate items in the freezer if you know you won’t be eating it before it goes bad.

And most IMPORTANTLY, don’t forget to make meal prepping fun and a regularly weekly ritual of yours. Throw on some music, watch a show or just chat if it’s a team effort.

Apply these meal prep principles and your future self will thank you immensely.

This blog is sponsored by Priorityfitness.

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Vitamin D

With a beautiful summer coming to an end the temperature is already dropping and the days are getting shorter. Sadly this means you will be getting less outdoor activity and time in the sun which means less opportunity for your body to make vitamin D.

Good levels of vitamin D are important for heart, brain, lungs and muscles function. Vitamin D is also important in regulating calcium levels so has an impact on bone health too. Low levels are linked with depression, low immunity and even cancer!

While most of the vitamins we need come from our food, it also is unique in that your own body can make it from sunlight. Which is why we need to pay closer attention to it in as winter approaches.

Although you can get vitamin D from foods, especially cod liver oil, raising your levels of vitamin D through food alone is not adequate according to the vitamin D council (find a link to their website below to get more information on vitamin D). Sun exposure and supplementation are the most effective ways to bring your levels up and maintain good health.

Tips for vitamin D this winter

1) Try and get as much sun exposure as you can while still being sun smart.

AND

2) Supplementation.

Most people can supplement vitamin D without any problem but if you have high blood calcium levels it may not be a good idea to take high doses. If you are taking certain medications it may also affect your ability to take high doses, whereas other medications may require you to take a higher dose than normal. This being the case it is best to consult your doctor to have some simple tests done to find out what dosage is right for you.

Reference:

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 87, Issue 3, March 2008, Page 794,

https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/

 

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Breathe Deep

In a given day how often do you breathe deeply? In a stressed out world you can unconsciously end up breathing short and shallow breaths, this can reduce oxygen intake and further drive the stress response.

Breathing is an interesting function of the body and arguably the only one that is both unconscious and consciously controlled. Think about it, until you start dreading this you were breathing without paying attention to it. It happens automatically. But you can also slow down or speed up your breathing pattern at your own will.

Rapid, shallow breathing is a natural response to a stressful situation. Deeper, slower breathing is a natural response when you are relaxed. Taking conscious control of your breathing during the day, especially when you are stressed, can help calm your nervous system so it can focus on healing, digesting and creativity.

Try this simple breathing exercise each day to calm you mind and body.

4-7-8 Breathing

This technique was developed by Dr Andrew Weil as a great technique to calm your body when lying in bed at night to assist you falling asleep or to calm your mind and body during the day.

  • Exhale forcefully through the mouth
  • Close your mouth and silently breathe in through the nose as you mentally count to 4
  • Hold the breath for a count of 7
  • Exhale forcefully through the mouth for a count of 8

Do this a total of four times and repeat twice daily to maximise the benefits of the technique. The ratio of the inhalation to exhalation is more important than the overall length of time. At first you may not be able to hold your breath very long so count faster but as your body becomes more efficient over time you will find that you can really slow the process down.

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Eating During Pregnancy

What you eat during your 9 months of pregnancy matters. The food you consume affects you and your baby, so always mind that you’re eating for two! Pregnancy means that you’re building life, so make sure that you supply all the necessary building blocks.

 

How much should you eat?

Since you’re eating for two, you’ll need extra calories and nutrients as your body builds your baby’s bones, tissues and organs. And just because your waist disappears, it doesn’t give you the all clear to load up on ice cream and sweet treats! Eating 3 regular meals a day? Then add 2 healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts or veggies to meet your higher caloric needs.

  • If you exercise regularly: add 500 calories.
  • If you don’t: add 300 calories.

How much weight should you gain?

You need to gain the appropriate amount of weight so that your baby can too.  If you come up short, then so will your baby. You’re in this together.

  • If you’re underweight: your goal should be to gain 15-20 kg.
  • Normal weight: aim to gain 10-15 kg.
  • Overweight: aim to gain 6-12 kg.
  • If your height is 157 cm or shorter: aim to gain 6-12 kg.

What should you eat?

Protein

  • Eat 2.2 g of protein per kg of your body weight (ex. if you weigh 70 kg aim to consume 154 g of protein).

Omega-3

  • You can get this from walnuts, chia seeds, linseed (flaxseed), hemp seed, seaweed, algae or fish oil supplement or avocado.

Vitamin D

  • Get 20-30 minutes of sun exposure 2-3 days a week.

Zinc

  • This can be from legumes (such as beans and lentils) or dark and leafy veggies.

Calcium

  • Many things can provide calcium such as dark and leafy veggies, legumes, bokchoy, tofu, nuts and seeds.

Vitamin B-12

  • You can get this from a high quality Vitamin B-12 supplement or fortified foods such as tofu, soy milk etc.

Iron

  • Get this from seeds, whole grains, nuts, dried fruits or dark and leafy veggies.

 

What should you minimize?

Caffeine

  • Aim for less than 300 mg per day.

Cured lunch meats

  • This can include ham, hot-dogs and the like.

Artificial sweeteners

  • These should be avoided as much as possible during pregnancy.

High sugar intake

  • Do NOT use cravings to justify poor choices.

 

What should you avoid completely?

The Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand has a list of types of fish that should be avoided by women who are pregnant due to higher mercury levels.

  • Cardinalfish
  • Dogfish (excluding rig)
  • Lake Rotomahana trout
  • Lake trout from geothermal regions
  • School shark (greyboy, tope)
  • Marlin (striped)
  • Southern bluefin tuna
  • Swordfish

Tobacco

  • It increases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) so it’s best to .steer clear.

Soft cheeses

  • This includes mold-ripened, blue veined, and unpasteurized cheeses.

Raw or undercooked animal foods

  • This includes meat, seafood (ex. SUSHI), and eggs.

 

What supplements should I take?

Your GP may prescribe prenatal vitamins and if not, it’s a good idea for you to seek some out yourself. Make sure the following is included:

  • Vitamin B-12 (3 ug/day)
  • Folic acid (400 ug/day)
  • Vitamin D (1000 IU/day) especially if you lack sun exposure

 

By following these guidelines, eating right and monitoring your weight, you’ll know that you’ve done everything in your control to lead up to a successful pregnancy.

 

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Could Cold Showers Be Good For you

It’s time to make friends with the cold. It may be hard to believe but there are quite a few benefits to having a cold shower. The idea of using cold water as a therapy has been around for thousands of years. Even after the Greeks developed running hot water for bathing they would still use cold bathing as a mental and physical therapy. Taking a dunk in an icy lake after a sauna is a common activity in Finland and the other Scandinavian countries and Rickson Gracie, a legend in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, would often sit in cold water as part of his training and recovery.

So what benefits might you gain from such a masochistic activity?

 

Physical benefits

 

The Thrombosis Research Institute of England put out a study with some evidence linking the increase in metabolism due to the body fighting the cold to a stimulation of the immune system, increasing white blood cell activity. The same study also indicates an increase in testosterone. A hormone essential for particularly for men in regard to libido, fertility, strength and energy, but also an essential hormone for similar reason in women.

Many athletes use various cold therapies to aid recovery and reduce inflammation caused by their training. Alternating between hot and cold in the shower can aid circulation. Because, cold water causes your body to restrict blood flow and send it to your organs and away from your extremities and hot water does the opposite.

Taking a cold shower daily can be a cheap (or should I say free) and less harmful (please read the warning at the end) than regularly taking anti-inflammatory pills if you suffer from chronic pain and inflammation.

 

Get started

 

I recommend you start by having a normal shower. Over the course of a week spend the final 15 seconds in a progressively cooler temperature until you are using the coldest possible water.

Then go from spending 15 seconds to 30, then 45, then 1 minute and so on. I have found that once you get used to the cold it is no longer a shock to your body. Then you can start to actually look forward to the cold!

An extra bonus is that you can save on your water bill as I guarantee you won’t be spending as long in the shower!

BE WARNED: if you suffer from heart disease or high blood pressure then this may not be for you. The shock of using cold water can put extra strain on the heart. Please take extra caution and try doing progressively cooler showers instead of going straight to cold.

 

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