Break the Plataeu 

  
We all experience a Plataeu of some kind in our life, whether it’s weight loss, muscle growth or even learning a new technique. Even though we might be eating right, exercising and resting our bodies will still come to a point of plateau. A plateau is the when our bodies basically stall and our energy inputs match our outputs. Some people experience more plateaus in their venture to achieve a particular goal and some rarely at all.

Instead of giving up on your goal or feeling defeat less try some of these handy hints:

  • Increase your duration or intensity of your training sessions. If you often shoulder press 8kg, up the weight to 9kg with an extra rep. Or if you often run in the morning try changing your flat run to interval training with sprints.
  • Ensure your moving enough during the day, invest in a pedometer. Movement throughout the day helps with blood circulation and 
  • Revisit your diet. Are you honestly being as strict as you were 2 weeks ago? We often become slack with our diets after seeing results. By keeping a food diary is a great way of tracking our food intake and helps to avoid the consumption of any unnecessary food. Also make sure you are still consuming enough calories and learn to shock your body. Foods such as nuts, oils and avocados are nutritious sources of protein which can be added to your diet to bump up the calorie intake. 
  • Rest! Listen to your body. If your feeling deflated then give your body a rest. Or if your a bad sleeper, try exercises such as meditation and yoga to help relax your body before bed. 
  • Review your overall goal. Sometimes we set unrealistic goals which place added pressure on the end result. Start with small daily goals to help with motivation and confidence. For example if your goal is to lose an overall weightless of 5kg, try break this goal down into daily goals followed by weekly goals. The smaller the achievements the more likely we will stay on track.

Remember there are no limits, only plateaus, it’s how your choose to break through the plateaus will define your end result.  

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Why I Choose to Meditate

  

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and is a technique used to train your mind in letting go of thoughts rather than stopping your mind all together. Meditation has been recognised to have many health benefits including stress relief, worry, lack of focus, relationship problems addictions and for rebalancing your body back to equilibrium. 

According to neuroscientists, Meditation works by altering the structure of the brain and new neuronal pathways are created which therefore improve brain functioning. It also increases left prefrontal lobe activity which is joined to the good feelings of happiness, curiosity and joy. Through meditation we can gradually decrease the “mind chatter” of anxiety, stress and worry. According to studies by Head Space, just 11 hours of meditation has been shown to improve self control and ability to stay on track with daily tasks. When you simplify things, if you meditated for half an hour a day you should expect to see a difference in your thought patterns after day 22. 

There are two types of meditation which you can try. The first being mindfulness where we are aware of all things around us without reacting. Compared to focused mediation which is where you may choose to focus your thoughts on breathing, an object or sensation. Mindfulness meditation is something you can adapt to every day living, as the technique is not to act before processing your thought. 

Meditation can be practiced basically anywhere at any time. You don’t need to spend a fortune on fancy setups or session fees. I usually meditate in bed before going to sleep, this way after a busy day at work I can try calm my mind chatter before attempting to sleep. If your not sure where to start, there are plenty of apps available to get you started. Headspace is an app developed by former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe who has developed meditation techniques tailored towards busy people like you and me. Start with taking 5 minutes out of your day to meditate, you may be surprised with the results 🙂  

Foods to Fight the Signs of Aging

  

Smooth, glowing skin is something everyone wants. Acne, wrinkles, rosacea and dry skin are all affected by your diet and environment. There is no miracle formula or magic cream which is going to reverse the damage which has already been caused. However a combination of the foods you eat including the vitamins A, C, and zinc along with sun exposure and exercise all play an important part in the elasticity and hydration of your skin.

Some of the nutritious foods you can add to your diet include:

Avocados contain the healthy fat called monounsaturated fat which helps keep your skin hydrated and absorbs some of those nutrients your skin needs to build new skin cells.  Replace high fat and sugar salad dressings with mashed avocado or simply eat by itself with a touch of lemon.

Salmon is another great food source that contains omega 3 fat. Laura Tasman, a nutritionist from Mount Sinai Medical Institute States that “omega 3 not only plays a vital role in the health of every membrane in our body, it also protects us from a number of key health threats”. Research shows that omega 3 fats from fish stop the creation and spread of cancer cells within the body. Omega 3 is also shown to be an anti inflammatory hence why it’s benefits spread further than healing the skin and can also aid arthritis, diabetes and chronic pain. Try eating fish full of omega 3 upto 3 times per week and feel the difference in your skin and overall health. 

Research conducted in 2012 by Plos One studied the affects of olive oil consumption on 1284 females. The outcome of the study demonstrated that by taking 2 teaspoons of olive oil per day was associated with 31% fewer signs of aging compared to those who consumed less than 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Olive oil contains 75% monounsaturated fat which like avocados plays an important role in renewing skin cells and reducing free radicals. Add olive oil to your salads and drizzle over your baked vegetables. 

Lucky last food to assist with giving you a healthy glow is dark chocolate! Dark chocolate contains flavanols and plant based antioxidants to add circulation and hydration. Studies show that woman who consumed a cocao flavanol drink once daily over a 12 week period resulted in skin with less scaliness and roughness. Choose quality dark chocolate with natural ingredients and low sugar content. 

Apart from adding these foods into your diet, exercise and protecting your skin from UV Rays will also prove to reduce the signs of aging 🙂 

 

Beat the Bloat – My Top 6 Anti Bloat Foods

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Everyone encounters stomach bloating at some point, lets face it, bloating is uncomfortable at the best of times and is embarrassing to discuss with others. Upto 30% of females experience adominal bloating and is not always codependent on foods or drinks which we have consumed during the day. However swollen stomachs can be caused by certain foods, especially if you find your work pants are a little snug after lunch. The best way to tackle the bloat is to look at your diet over a course of a week and identify the times which you feel most and least bloated. For me personally, i know if i consume anything with wheat and high fibrous foods like oats, my stomach reacts and usually turns into a baby soccer ball. Therefore i know to eradicate these items from my diet.

Heres my top 6 anti bloat foods:

Warm Lemon Water: When we are feeling bloated the worst thing you can do is limit your water consumption. Our bodies naturally hold onto fluid when we are bloated so by drinking lemon, a natural diuretic with warm water will act as a gentle laxative and assist with the movement of excess fluid throughout our body.

Cucumber: Apart from using cucumbers to reduce puffiness under our eyes, they are also the perfect food for inflammation. The vegetable contains quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant that helps reduce swelling. Add cucumber to your morning smoothie or your lunchtime salad to reap the benefits.

Watermelon: Apart from being 92% water, watermelon is the perfect summer addition to reduce bloating. It is packed full of potassium and also has a diuretic property to increase the movement of waste throughout the body.

Parsley: Apart from being a luscious garnish to any dish, parsley also offers some amazing health benefits. Parsley contains volatile oils and flavanoids. The oils help neutralise any carcinogens in the body and the flavanoids reduce damage to our cells. Parsley also contains Vitamin C which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, which explains its usefulness in conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Bananas: Also rich in potassium, bananas are a great food for balancing sodium levels within our internal system. Bananas are also rich in fibre which helps to break down any foods that cause constipation.

Yoghurt: Now i am talking about the natural yoghurt, not the sugar filled flavoured types. Yoghurt is full of probiotics which work to regulate the digestive system. The word probiotic actually means “for life”: pro + bios = “for life” and help by balancing the flora within our digestive system. If you suffer from IBS then try taking a probiotic every day to relieve some of the systems associated with this issue.

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A Systematic View on NYE Resolutions

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We all like the thought of making New Year resolutions about the things we want to achieve in our lives. Whether it be weight loss, business ventures, travel, buying a new house or simply being more happy. A staggering 8% of people actually achieve their goals, that leaves a 92% fail rate. For most of us new year resolutions start by setting yourself a goal, the reason why we fail at our goals is mostly due to lack of commitment, broadness of your goal and lack of planning!

If we dissected our “goals” and looked at what ingredients we need to achieve the end result we would probably have a higher success rate. For example if your goal is weight loss then you need to start planning how you are going to lose that 5kg and give yourself a timeframe. Planning involves routine, you need to mentally work out what time is best for you to exercise and also what needs to change in your diet. Plan your meals on a weekly basis to avoid overindulging on the wrong foods but always give yourself room to still enjoy life and have fun.

Some people feel overwhelmed with the thought about having a goal which is possibly the reason why nothing changes in their life. If this sounds like you then your goals are probably too large, start small for example if your goal is to one day open your own business and become a millionaire. Think about the ingredients and systems you need to discover and work towards before achieving the end result.

If your stuck for ideas on how to challenge yourself this year then how about making a list of 3-5 things you would like to change or achieve this year then dot point a plan on how you will work towards your goals. Your goal may be to improve your work life balance. Having more time away from work is your end result, how you achieve your goal is your system. Things you might like to consider is looking at what time of day are you most productive, what are the draw backs during the day, interruptions and down time. People who have a tendency to procrastinate about how busy their day is are usually more likely to be less efficient. Plan your day and ensure you give yourself time to breath and digest exactly what you are working on. This will eradicate room for mistakes and inefficies.

Lastly never feel bad about setbacks, it’s how you overcome these setbacks that make you a stronger person.

Good luck with your planning for 2015!

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Debating the Paleo Diet

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Entrepreneur Peter Evans has recently come under fire for his supposed extreme views on paleo and his views on food which the every day commoner would probably consume. Basically Evans hasn’t visited a GP in over 20 years and uses kinesiology and clean foods to keep his health in check. For most people the fact the Paleo diet delivers the best results is all they need. Improved blood lipids, weight loss, and reduced pain from autoimmunity is proof enough.

Most of us have heard of the word paleo, which is a type of diet where foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafood, nuts and seeds plus healthy fats are consumed. All alcohol, dairy, grains, processed food and sugars, starches and legumes are all avoided. According to Robb Wolf, research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility. In other words let food be the source which keeps our bodies nutritionally balanced and at equilibrium.

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So why have Evans views been discarded by health enthusiasts and the medical world? Well its thought that we need all the food groups to be considered healthy. One blogger has even called his views on the 5 food groups as “clueless”. According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines one of the larger food groups is made up of grains, this is one food group which paleons avoid. Medical views see that grains supply the body with thiamine and vitamin B. However by avoiding grains and consuming more fruits and vegetables one would think that the required nutrient level could be achieved in an alternative way?

There are also claims that without dairy products our bodies would be in deficient of calcium, vitamin B12, riboflavin, vitamin A, potassium and zinc. All of these nutrients can be found in salmon, oysters, beans, broccoli, spinach and kale. Calcium does not necessary need to be consumed through dairy products and levels can be reached by following a paleo diet.

Moving onto vegetable oils and their toxity. Apparently not even the Cancer Council claims that by using canola and vegetable oils will cause your body some form of harm. Well one study analysed canola and soybean oils found on store shelves in the U.S. They found that 0.56% to 4.2% of the fatty acids in them were toxic trans fats. Canola oil is made with a highly unnatural processing method that involves high heat, deodorization and the toxic solvent hexane. Significant amounts of trans fats are formed during this process. Basically I wouldn’t be cooking at high temperatures with canola or vegetable oil for a matter of fact and agree with Evans on choosing natural alternatives such as coconut oil for cooking.

The lucky last food group is sugar. Now if you are a close follower of mine you will see my beliefs on the affects of sugar on the human body, the results are not great nor surprising. Evans believes Sugar, even from fruit juice, increases weight, accelerates ageing, is addictive and causes numerous mental and physical disorders. I agree with his standput here. In this day and age we are tackling an obesity epidemic, its so easy for us to buy a quick bite to eat because we are one running short of time or two the excuse I hear a lot from parents is that the kids enjoy it. Well of course they do, sugar feeds the feel good endorphins giving us a quick high. The paleo diet doesn’t cut “sugar” out completely but merely processed sugar. Sugar can still be found in fruits and vegetables giving our bodies the right balance of nutrients. When our bodies start to “get used to” the paleo diet we would probably find that we no longer crave the double chocolate ice cream hiding in the freezer or a McDonalds McFlurry on the way home from work. Instead you will probably just need a piece of fruit to satisfy the sugar craving.

My opinion on the whole paleo debate is in support of Peter Evans views and his thoughts on educating Australia on pretty much a “cave man diet”. The paleo diet is not for everyone, but that’s not to say it cant be modified to suit your needs. There is no harm in trying to stick to simple foods and adjusting as you see fit. Everyone knows when there bodies are at optimum peak, its just finding our way is the key.

 

Natural Christmas Gifts – Made From the Heart <3

IMG_6392[1]With Christmas just around the corner, 4 weeks to be exact, its a great time to start thinking (and stressing) about what to give your loved ones. It is super easy to make your own presents using natural ingredients and here is how:

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Relaxing Rose Bath Salts
Nothing beats a warm bath after a hectic day, give your loved ones the feeling of relaxation with this easy bath salt recipe.

You will need:
1 glass jar with lid
Course sea salt
himalayan salt
Epsom Salts
Baking Soda
Dried Rose Petals
Essential oil

Steps;
Depending on the size of your jar, mix 3 parts of the three different salts in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 part baking soda to add softness to the water and alleviate skin irritation.
Add two drops of your chosen essential oil and dried rose petals.
Mix well and scoop into your jar. Decorate with your favourite Christmas ribbon.

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Natural Bath Fizzies

Love bath bombs? Then how about making your own, they are so simple and leave your skin feeling soft and moisturised.

What you will need:

Baking Soda
Citric Acid
Essential oil
Baking moulds
Almond or Macadamia Oil
Rubber Gloves

Add 2 cups of baking soda with 1 cup of citric acid into a large mixing bowl. Slowly add a couple of drops of the oil to the mix, stirring after each drop until the mixture resembles sand. Add 2 drops of essential oil and stir until combined.
If you are feeling really adventurous try experimenting with different dyes found from your local craft store.
Firmly pack mixture into desired moulds. I always find adding a drop of oil to the mould helps with removal of the bath bomb. Add rose petals or lavender to the tops of your bombs for decoration.
Allow mixture to set for 4 hours, remove from moulds and place on a drying rack overnight.

 

You can also check out my blog post on how to make your own body butter, a summer favourite of mine 🙂

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