Archive for Healthy eating

About detoxing

I often hear about people detoxing, especially after big festivals such as Christmas and New Year, or before a big event such as holiday or a wedding. But what exactly is a detox and what does it do?

Basically, a detox is a way to cleanse your body, to give it a break and a chance to rejuvenate before you carry on with your life. This means that, during a detox, you reduce the intake of toxins as much as possible so that your body can concentrate on getting rid of the rubbish that’s already in your system. There are different kinds of detoxing plans from fasts to cutting out a particular type of food.

As for fasting, fasting for one day won’t do the body any harm and has been recommended since ancient times. Fasting means you abstain from food, but water must be allowed, at the very least. If you do a longer fast, make sure you research it well. Water alone won’t be able to keep you going, and you’ll need to understand what nutrients to put into your body, how long to fast for and how to ease your body into eating again.

You might feel a bit daunted by going on a complete fast but are still interested in detoxing. In this case, cut out food that may cause your body trouble. You can cut out wheat, all grain, sugar, processed foods, cooked foods, non-organic foods… whichever suits you at the time. The more food groups you cut out, the more effective the detox will be- within reason. You don’t want to deprive your body, so make sure you know what you’re doing. If you’re not sure how to feed your body well whilst doing a detox, it’s best to keep it short so you don’t suffer any nutritional side-effects.

As for me, when I detox I cut out wheat, sugar and processed foods. I focus on eating as much raw food as possible, particularly concentrating on vegetables. If I want to go a little further I cut out all grains and try to buy everything organic. I aim to include raw vegetables and some protein (egg, raw cheese or some organic meat) in each meal. Ideally, I’d like to eat like this all the time, but until I feel confident enough to do so, detoxing helps me to adjust to a cleaner diet and get used to eating less of those foods that aren’t beneficial for me.

One pleasant side-effect of detoxing is weight loss. My own sister recently dropped two jean sizes just by following an all-natural detox programme for 9 days (she did the programme twice). Her husband also lost two stone. This particular detox programme can be bought on my health shop here: https://www.foreverliving.com/retail/shop/shopping.do?task=viewProductDetail&itemCode=007

It comes with loads of personal support and advice every step of the way, and also has a 60 day money back guarantee. So if, in just 9 days, you haven’t lost excess weight and felt the benefits of the detox you won’t even be out of pocket. There’s still time to get that body you’ve been aiming for…

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The ideal human diet?

A certain way of eating has created a lot of attention in the health world over the last few years, but it’s actually based on the most ancient meal plans you can think of. It’s the Paleo Diet, or the Caveman diet, and it seeks to emulate what our ancestors evolved to eat. The idea is that if we evolved to eat certain types of food, our bodies are best suited to these foods and can deal with them better.

So, what kind of things sum up the Paleo Diet? High importance is placed on getting the best quality organic free-range meat. Dairy is discouraged, and grains and potatoes are avoided, as they were not used by our ancestors before the invention of cooking. Basically, every meal has some sort of protein you’d find in nature, raw vegetables and maybe some seeds and/or nuts. Raw is important- the more raw your diet can be, the better.

Personally, the Paleo Diet makes sense to me, and I like to take a lot of influence from it when preparing my meals. I do still eat cooked food, grains and dairy but have made an effort to reduce them in favour of raw foods, vegetables and good quality fish and meat.

If you would like to read more, here are some sites to get you started:

http://www.earth360.com/diet_paleodiet_balzer.html

http://paleodietlifestyle.com/

http://paleodiet.com/

http://www.mercola.com/article/carbohydrates/paleolithic_diet.htm

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/10/18/paleo-diet-part-one.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/10/22/paleo-diet-part-two.aspx

Interesting stuff, isn’t it? So, what do you think? Let me know!

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Benefits of coconut oil

Coconut oil is a truly wonderful addition to a healthy lifestyle, both in your food and in your beauty routine. Look for organic, extra-virgin cold-pressed coconut oil- it may be expensive, but it will last, and it’s so beneficial!

So, what is so special about it?

Coconut oil is far more resistant to rancidity than other oils you use in cooking, retaining its nutritional content for a long time.  It is anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial, helps to increase metabolism, strengthens the immune system, aids digestion, controls blood sugar levels, aids absorption of minerals and tastes great.

How should you use it?

Try cooking with it as its nutritional properties are resistant to heat. It gives a lovely, delicately sweet hint to food.

Eat a spoonful or two a day, either straight, or stirred into green tea. The model Miranda Kerr swears by this.

Use it on your skin to heal infections, moisturise, combat the signs of aging, remove makeup and feed the skin with antioxidants. It has also been claimed to help with allergies, eczema and getting rid of warts and moles.

Use it on your hair for extra hydration, shine and softness.

Do you know of any other great ways to use coconut oil? Leave a comment and spread the word!

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Powerful medicinal foods

Garlic

Yes, it’s a little smelly. But garlic is an absolute powerhouse of health benefits!

It fights viral and bacterial infections, heart disease, cancer, fungus, strokes, warts and moles. It also lowers high blood pressure and high cholestrol.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Touted as an effective remedy for a whole variety of symptoms, including acne, ezcema, heart palpitations, anxiety, infections and high blood pressure, this is really worth having in your life. Take it diluted in water, use it on your skin and hair, and see the results!

Blackstrap Molasses

This has been claimed to tackle tumours, anxiety, digestive problems, acne and joint problems, for a start. Add the fact that it’s a natural sweetener that’s actually good for you, increases your energy and is full of minerals, and you’ll know this needs to be in your cupboard!

Have you had success with any natural remedies? What were they?

If you are interested in reading about natural remedies, check out the website www.earthclinic.com.

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Chocolate- the healthy way

I love chocolate. Is there a way to eat this delicious food without ruining a healthy diet? As luck would have it, yes! Chocolate is actually a very powerful health food, as long as you get as close to the natural ingredient as possible and don’t eat it laden down with milk and sugar!

Why not try the following ways to enjoy chocolate?

– Eat dark chocolate with as much cocoa content as possible. I love to eat Green and Black’s organic dark chocolate with 80% cocoa, but as long as you exceed about 65% you can reap all the wonderful benefits, including antioxidants, ‘happy hormones’ such as endorphin and serotonin, the lowering of high blood pressure and high cholestrol, and even protection from the signs of aging!

– Try raw chocolate, such as those sold by www.rawrchoc.com. Raw chocolate retains even more nutrition as it hasn’t been damaged by cooking, so you absorb even more minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and vitamins.

– Use flaxseed with cocoa to give your cereal or yogurt a boost. Flaxseed itself is such a great food that I’ve written a seperate post all about it, but when you buy it with cocoa, it’s absolutely delicious. Try it with a bit of honey on a bowl of puffed rice for cereal that tastes like Coco Pops but feeds you with loads of nutrition to get through the day. This is the one I use, which is cold-pressed and tastes just great: http://www.linwoodshealthfoods.com/productdetails/13/ground-flaxseed-cocoa-strawberries-blueberries.aspx

– Purchase some really good quality organic dark chocolate powder, such as this one from Green and Black’s: http://www.greenandblacks.com/ca/what-we-make/home-use/cocoa-powder.html Use it with a good natural sweetener such as unrefined sugar, honey or molasses to make a comforting cup of hot chocolate.

Any ideas you’d like to share? Let me know!

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Simple, quick and cheap food I love

If you want some inspiration for simple, healthy, quick and cheap food, here are some of my personal favourites.

– Turkey, brie and grape salad or sandwich. I like to choose good quality free-range, and preferably organic, turkey breast slices, a small block of brie and a handful of grapes (black grapes are my favourite because of the sweet flavour and extra antioxidants). Place the turkey on a sandwich, then slices of brie ontop, and finish with grape halves and baby spinach leaves, or use these foods in a salad if you want to cut down on wheat. It is so delicious and doesn’t cost much because you only use a small amount of each ingredient- a sample size of brie will do, a couple of slices of turkey and about 8 grapes, so you’ll be able to get a couple of meals out of it!

– Egg, chilli flakes and beetroot on corn crackers. Corn crackers are really versatile and should be in the cupboard of everyone who wants to cut down on wheat. One of my favourite ways to eat them is topped with scrambled egg with a pinch of chilli flakes and beetroot on the side.

– Mackerel with sweet potato and a good salad. Mackerel is an amazing food, it’s one of the cheapest fish you can buy, with one of the lowest levels of mercury. It is caught wild without all the health issues that arise from farmed fish, is high in nutrients including vitamin D and omega 3, and tastes simply delicious. Sweet potato is a great alternative to normal potato, with extra antioxidants and vitamin C, and the salad contains even more vitamins, fibre and raw goodness. Make a great salad by experimenting with colour and texture- mix green leaves with red tomatoes and yellow peppers or sweetcorn, for example.

– Chicken and mixed salad leaves on pitta bread. Take some wholewheat pitta bread (really cheap), some good quality chicken drumsticks (another cheap way to get meat) and some mixed salad leaves. I like to add a thin slice of cheddar as well. Mix the salad leaves up in a bowl adding a drop of honey, the magic ingredient that turns this into something special. Toast the pitta bread until it puffs up, break it open, place warm and freshly-cooked chicken meat inside, then the cheese, then the salad leaves, and a dash of mayonnaise if you like. Take a bite and come back and let me know what you think!

Do you have any recipes you’d like to share?

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The benefits of cinnamon

All spices have great health properties, and cinnamon is no exception to this. Did you know that just a quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon a day can lower your blood sugar? Put it on some fruit, on a sweet potato or in a glass of warm milk for a delicious and healthy way to help control your sugar levels.

Cinnamon is also anti-bacterial and an anti-inflammatory, helps relieve congestion when you have a cold or the flu, aids the digestive system, protects the teeth and prevents infections (particularly those of the urinary tract).

Just one thing, though- make sure you get real cinnamon. Here’s a helpful webpage to help you tell the difference: http://www.ceylon-cinnamon.com/Identify-Cinnamon.htm

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