Macros per serve: P: 16.4g, C:12.5g, F:8.2g
Feeling a little stale post winter chill? Notice that the wind has picked up?
Our body and focus changes with the seasons and now that spring has arrived there’s no better time to use this swoosh of energy to start planning and directing your goals into action.
In chinese medicine the liver and gall bladder meridian channels are most active during spring and dictate this intention through the flow of qi, blood and bile.
The liver known as the 'chief' plays a vital physiological role in the body detoxifying, filtering and storing blood, as well as storing glycogen which is released into the blood stream in the form of glucose as a form of metabolic energy. It also stores essential amino acids which are vital in the production of proteins for growth and repair in the body.
The gall bladder ‘the honourable minister’ produces and secretes bile to aid the digestion and metabolism of fats. Together these processes are important for digestive and immune health.
From an emotional or energetic perspective if we are stagnate of body or thought, this stagnation can show up physically as heaviness within the body or emotional stagnation in the form of anger, frustration, indecision and a lack of clarity and direction.
Here are a few tips to help your system find flow into spring and help you plan, get clarity and direction with your goals:
Goal Setting for 2019
Have you set your new years resolution?
To be honest I don't like the idea of a 'new years resolution'. New year's resolutions are experience killers! It has a negative connotation that we should be focused on the finish line rather than the process and this is where a lot of people get unstuck with achieving what they want.
You have the end in site but not the steps to get you there.
With goal setting I like to set goals with a positive purpose and that give positive feedback for eg. rather than setting a goal that you want to 'lose 10kg' the goal could be to 'improve your health and fitness' (improving your health is part of losing weight in a safe and sustainable way and generally some form of exercise/activity is necessary to help you get the kilos off).
Identify the ‘why’ behind the goal you’re setting
Once you’ve identified the purpose of your goal, digging a little deeper as to why it’s important for you to achieve the goal will create a catalyst to keep you motivated along the way. At times when you don’t feel motivated coming back to your ‘why’ will get you off your ass or out of your excuses and help push you to keep going.
Write your goals down and share them
Putting pen to paper takes your vision out of your head and sets the first intention that you are serious about achieving your goal then sharing your goal with family and friends will help keep you accountable especially when they are interested and will ask about how you are going with it.
Set a time line and the milestones necessary to achieving your goal
Once you’ve set the time line of when you want to achieve your goal it’s important to work out the main steps that are going to help you get there. Write them down ad date them in the time line.
When looking to achieve a purposeful goal usually we won’t have all the skills and knowledge required to get us to where we want to be. This is where a coach or expert in the field you a wanting to grow in will help fill in the gaps or it may require signing up for a course or be as simple as downloading an app.
Learn to love the journey
The more love and intention you put into each process and integrate the changes into your everyday life the better the chance you have at succeeding!
1. Reassess your food choices, how and when your fueling your body
Some people think snacking can be a good way to shed kilos, and it can be, provided you don't also binge when you get home from work (for those that live on coffee and sugar throughout the day and then go crazy binge-style at night! I know I've been there!). If this is you, then preparing and eating balanced meals (containing all macronutrients; carbs, fats and protein) throughout the day can curb cravings and deter binge eating at night by sustaining blood sugar levels so your energy is consistent throughout the day.
Also by replacing processed, sugary and fatty foods which contain empty calories (meaning there's little or no nutritional value) with whole foods (containing all your macro and micronutrients as well as minerals) will help your body function better and improve your mood and energy levels.
2. Turn off your TV and electronic devices!
Its easy to get caught up in the drama and fantasy of other people's lives while watching television or sitting scrolling through social media. This is a modern day procrastination and aversion tool which can lead to increased anxiety and poor sleeping habits especially if you're someone who sits on your phone or laptop in bed or you have a TV in your bedroom. It also creates disconnect from true interaction with loved ones and the present moment (in reality the only moment we have!).
Limiting time on electronic devices and TV frees up time to focus on connection to yourself, your loved one, your goals, and what truely matters in your life and is time gained to allow for relaxation or being more productive working towards where you want to grow.
3. Decrease Caffeine and Increase Water
A lot of us rely on our morning coffee to give us energy and help us focus throughout the day but when the effects of the caffeine wear off it can make us feel lethargic and foggy.
Not only is caffeine addictive it is also really dehydrating to our tissues. It can also affect our digestion and a lot of people rely on caffeine to empty their bowels.
Replace coffee with water to avoid these negative effects and give every cell in your body the best chance to function optimally.
4. There's no better time to start than now
A lot of us look for the perfect time to make changes or start a new goal, but in reality it's usually just procrastination or some kind of aversion in our mind. We might look to an external motivator such as New Years to make resolutions and begin trying to achieve our goals.
In reality you don't need an external source, as the only person who can make the change is you! That change may come from simply taking action today, whether its using one of the steps above, waking up a little earlier to get your morning walk in, or finding someone who can help with the blocks you have preventing you from achieving your goals. Now is the time to get moving!
The tastiest way to get your greens in?? Cheesy kale chips!
They’re vegan, high in protein, vit A, C, K, fibre and iron
- whole bunch kale
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 squeezed lemon
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- sprinkle of cayenne pepper
- Himalayan sea salt - black pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- preheat oven to 100 degrees Celsius
- de-stem kale, wash leaves, place in large bowl
- put all other ingredients (except for yeast flakes) into a NutriBullet or vitamin (blender)
- pour mix over kale and stir through until all leaves are covered
- place kale onto foiled baking tray/trays (only one layer of leaves over surface of tray so they dry out properly)
- sprinkle yeast flakes over kale and place in oven for approx 40mins - 1hr (or until all moisture is dried out of leaves and they go crispy like chips)
Macros: P: 12.3g, C: 16.3g, F: 5.8g
Makes 4 serves
This pudding is a little taste of summer in your mouth while being sugar, gluten and dairy free and low in fat!
Perfect as a dessert or brekky on the go.
(NOTE: recipe can be made with protein powder to meet your macro requirements but if you're looking for an indulgent treat it tastes delicious as is)
- 3 cups water
- 3/4 cup sago
- 1 bud star anise
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 165g light coconut milk
- 2 mangoes
- 1 1/2 tbsp stevia
- 1 serve vanilla protein powder (optional)
- place water into a saucepan and bring to boil
- add sago and stir through water
- add star anise, vanilla and stevia
- cook on low to medium heat and continue to stir sago so it doesn't stick to the pan
- add coconut milk as mixture starts to thicken and continue to stir and cook for 10-15mins
- peel and chop mangoes and blend in a nutri bullet or blender and keep aside
- OPTIONAL: once sago is soft and mixture has thickened remove from heat and whisk protein powder through (NOTE: there still needs to be enough water in the mixture so pudding doesn't go too gluey)
- pour mixture into glasses and place in fridge for 20 mins
- take puddings out of the fridge and pour blended mango over the puddings and serve or place puddings back into fridge to cool and serve cold
Mixture makes 4 serves
Macros: P: 10g, C:37g, F:2.7g (includes protein powder)
I have to admit, I'm a baked goods fan!
I'm also time poor and like something I can eat on the run.
These bad boys are full of protein, low in fat, and give you a carb fix without blowing your sugar or carb intake. Did I mention they're also gluten and dairy free!
One of my favourite on-the-go brekkie or snack choices.
You'll find this recipe and more in my customised nutrition plans.
(Photo credit to Leila Cranswick, one of my clients who has been following my customised nutrition plan and is looking fabulous!)
Vanilla and Blueberry Protein Muffins
Makes 6 muffins
Macros: P: 17g, C: 14.9g, F: 3.5g
Note: This recipe is using Prana vegan protein powder which is dairy and gluten free. All whey protein powders contains dairy and some brands may have gluten in them. Always check the ingredients!
Have you ever woke up with a stiff neck, stretched or turned your head and all of a sudden it ceases up?
Yes you can relate?
Acute neck spasm or 'wry neck' is usually caused by a stiff facet joint in your spine that when put under pressure either when you sleep on it or if you turn your head or stretch your neck in a particular direction, will cause an inflammatory response within the joint capsule.
The surrounding muscles that move that joint will then subsequently go into spasm as a protective mechanism to stop you from further loading the joint.
Unfortunately once the inflammation sets in, depending on how severe the restriction is, will depend on how long it takes for the problem to resolve and this can you leave you in pain and immobile from your usual daily activity.
Here are my tips to a speedy recovery from acute neck spasm and how to lessen the likely-hood of getting into this predicament in the first place:
Don't Panic: the natural reaction to pain or spasm is to panic. When we panic our muscles respond by contracting and this will exacerbate the spasm. If you feel pain take a few gentle and slow breaths, allow your shoulders and neck to relax. Breath into the pain.
Move: this will feel counter-intuitive but when you breath, relax as much as possible, slowly start to move your head, rotating, side bending, flexing and extending. Take your head and neck through your pain tolerable range will give feedback to the muscles that it is safe to let go and this can help to reduce the spasm.
Use Hot and Cold Packs: Use hot and cold packs on the area, 5 minutes of ice followed by 5 minutes of heat and repeat 3 times over 30 minutes, 3 times per day for up to 72 hours. The cold will help to reduce the inflammation and the heat will help to relax the muscles. Both combined will work as an analgesic to alleviate pain.
Recognise what causes your neck stiffness and get your spine checked regularly: what I find treating patients with acute neck spasm is although the condition is acute (quick onset and short term), there is usually a chronically (long term) tight or restricted postural pattern. This chronic pattern can be due to poor sleeping habits (falling asleep on the couch or stomach sleeping), poor work ergonomics (working on a laptop, tablet or using multiple monitors), phone addiction (the turtles you see on the train, in the car, wherever, totally consumed in their social media, emails, on call with their shoulder hiked up to their ear holding the phone etc.) and stress; most people hold stress and therefore tension in their neck and shoulders and this can hold us in a chronic stress pattern.
When we become aware of our habits we have the ability to change them......STOP! Put the phone down!
Maintenance osteo treatment helps correct strain patterns in the body, allowing the tissues to be restored to optimal function and reduce the likely hood of developing an acute neck spasm.
At the first sign of a twinge (not when you're completely incapacitated!) call your osteo and get your neck sorted.
Losing weight and keeping it off can be challenging. With summer and the warm weather behind us, we can start to feel the bulge with eating more and moving less.
The last few kilos can be the toughest to shed and keeping it off is even more challenging especially when we have a lot of external stresses around us.
Here are some tips for staying on track to losing and keeping the last few kilos off!
Visualise: If you can’t imagine yourself leaner you will not get leaner. The power of the mind is imperative when it comes to weight loss! If you have an old photo of yourself as you’d like to look keep it close by; in your wallet or on your fridge. The next time you go to grab a poor food choice look at the photo for motivation not to take a bite.
Value what you want to create more than what you want in the moment: once you’ve set the intention to lose weight, you have to be committed to taking steps towards it day by day and these may be little changes. Cutting out sugar from your coffee or getting up 30mins earlier to go for a run are examples. Each time you practice the steps, the more deeply it gets ingrained. Where most people fail is giving up when they’ve gotten distracted or stressed, they’ve had a binge and quit.
The thing is everyone has slips ups or setbacks. You just have to come back to the intention or goal you set and recommit to it. Those distractions whether it be eating a block of chocolate because you’ve had a bad day or you’re ‘too busy’ looking after your kids and reach for an unhealthy option because you ‘don’t have time for yourself’ are us feeding into our story of why we can’t or shouldn’t keep going. Buying into the story gets you know where. It’s just fear of our ego that likes to stay comfortable.
Question how much do you buy into your story? Is it real or just a distraction from you achieving your goals? Value your goals more than the distraction in the moment, the aversion, the pleasure in the moment and remember Rome was not built in a day. Neither is a new body!
Do a clean out: autumn is a great time to consolidate and organise, and what better time than to clean out and organise your kitchen pantry and fridge. The saying, ‘you are a reflection of your surroundings’ rings true. Have a think about your pantry and fridge. Is it organised and clean or stuffed to the brim with old food and mess? The state of your fridge and pantry could resemble the state of your mind when it comes to your relationship with food.
Taking the time to throw away old, unhealthy, processed or out-of-date foods and re-organising all the healthy foods you’re going to nourish your body with can instantly making you feel lighter and prepared for what goes in your mouth.
Eat slowly and mindfully: Easter is just around the corner and the temptation to eat chocolate is everywhere. Totally depriving yourself can lead to a binge. By eating small amounts of naughty foods isn’t so bad if you can stop when you should. Try 3 Easter eggs instead of the whole packet. Try eating slowly, smell the food, when you eat it, chew slowly and observe the texture and taste.
You may even find by doing this the urgency to stuff more down and repeatedly keep eating lessens. As we become mindful of the taste and texture the urgency to keep eating lessens and we may find that the build-up in our mind of how good the food will taste, in actual fact isn’t as desirable in reality.
It’s never too late to get back on the wagon. If you have a slip up, it’s not an excuse to quit. Consistency is key to losing weight and keeping it off. Even if you have a bad day you can always make a healthy choice for the next meal. The more you practice making good choices, being consistent you’ll lose kilos and be better equipped to keep it off.
The holiday break 'should' be a joyous time shared with loved ones but sometimes it can also bring up a little anxiety.
All of those people that are most precious in our lives can also trigger us the most. I find every time I have a family gathering we all revert into old habits within the family dynamic.
We all have our so-called place! But the reality is it doesn't have to be the same chaotic, anxiety-filled time if you don't want it to be. Holidays spent with loved ones can be a great opportunity to practice self-awareness, empathy, and gratitude.
Here are my top tips for getting you through and even enjoying the holiday break with family.....
Identify the what, why and how associated with your anxiety.
What is it that makes you anxious about spending time with the family? Is it based around a particular person or the dynamic of people coming together in one confined space? Or maybe you aren't spending time with loved ones, maybe there's been a transition and you're feeling overwhelmed at what the holiday will be like without your loved ones around.
Why does that make you feel anxious?
Use the holiday as practice of self-awareness.
Yes there's something to be learnt from your self-centred aunt or opinionated father in law! At the end of the day no one forces us to feel anything. We subconsciously choose what we feel and how we react and usually that thing that we don't like or hide away from stems from something we are struggling to identify or accept in ourselves.
Gratitude and empathy come from the same place.
So how can you change the situation at hand? Make a gratitude list. Finding 5 things that you’re grateful for in your life before you enter the dynamic helps to centre your energy and change your perspective from tunnel vision of the day at hand, towards the bigger picture.
When we focus on what we have and what is right and good in our lives the negative stuff that causes the anxiety doesn't seem so big anymore. It lightens the spring in our step into any situation and we're less likely to react from that negative place, getting caught up in petty arguments and bickering and observing from a more calm and positive space.
When we're in a positive, grateful space we are more likely to be able to forgive and show empathy and understanding to even the most annoying, triggering person. The negative traits cool, we can place ourselves in their shoes and we can love the person for their being, not for what they have or haven't done in the past.
Connect to the meaning for coming together these holidays. It's all about sharing and offering gratitude for the special people that we’ve lived life with, learnt big lessons and gifts from, and who have been pivotal in forming who we are today.