This morning I attended a breakfast hosted by KORA Organics and Women in Focus, where I got to hear from Therese Kerr, mum to Miranda Kerr, and personal chef to the stars, Chef Kate on all things healthy and organic.
Delicious fruit and yoghurt served up for breakfast
If you regularly read my blog you will already know that I am a strong advocate for living naturally and eating healthy but it was quite inspiring to hear Therese and Kate talk about the importance of embodying health from the inside and the outside.
Most women put around 200 chemicals on their face each day and as Miranda’s mantra goes “what you put on your skin, soaks in”. Eating certified organic foods and using certified organic products means that the body doesn’t have to waste time processing toxins, meaning your body functions can get back to performing at their peak. This basically results in glowing skin, bright clear eyes, better digestion and a stronger immune system. Pretty much how I felt after I came off my detox last week :-)
KORA Organics Daily Hand Cream which smells delightfully citrus-y (it contains mandarin and grapefruit oil)
Branded Organic vs. Certified Organic
A lot of products will self-declare that they are organic. There is currently no government regulation over the use of the word organic in Australia so products and brands can declare they are organic even if they are not, so you may think you are buying organic but the product or food still contains a lot of the nasties you are trying to avoid. This is why certification is important, in order to be certified organic a product/brand has to jump through a lot of hoops and the certification process is quite stringent. In Australia the two biggest certifying bodies are Australian Certified Organic and NASAA Certified Organic, check out their website for more information.
Chef Kate also had a few tips and tricks, including which foods you should absolutely avoid unless they are certified organic, which was chicken, eggs, dairy and berries. She also said that Lamb is usually a good choice if you are out and unable to eat organically as it is generally lower in toxicity. The one thing Chef Kate said that really resonated with me was to have joy in what you are eating and I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve just come off a ten day detox and I have to say, I feel amazing. It’s easier to get up in the morning, I feel less bloated and my mind feels a lot clearer. However over the last week I’ve been getting this reaction from quite a few people “Oh, you’re not doing one of those lemon detox things are you?”
Let me just clarify one thing, in my opinion the lemon detox diet is a fast not a detox. It came to fame after Beyonce apparently used it to drop a bucket load of weight for her role in dream girls, but let me reiterate, it is a fast, there is no food and your only nutrients come from squeezed lemons and maple syrup. Hardly a balanced or nutritious diet, me thinks. Warm water with lemon juice is a great way to start the morning, it cleanses the liver and is alkalising however sustaining your entire body on just water, lemons and sugar is definitely not something I would undertake.
I’m a big advocate for detoxing but to me this means eating super-healthy with loads of fresh fruit and veg, which essentially gives your body a whole bunch of extra nutrients to work with. The main things that I cut out of my diet are:
- No caffeine (this includes no chocolate)
- No alcohol
- No gluten
- No red meat (this one is pretty easy being a vegetarian)
- No sugar (a small amount of natural sweetners ie honey is OK)
- No dairy (yoghurt with acidophilus bifidus is also OK, just don’t over do it)
Giving up my morning coffee has been the hardest for me this time, I’ve given up coffee before but I was definitely feeling it this time around. Apart from that a detox just requires a little bit more ogranisation, you can’t fall back on takeaway when you are doing a detox but the pay off is well worth it. Tip: Rice paper rolls are perfect detox food if you forget your lunch ;)
Lastly, it’s important to drink a tonne of water, this will help your body flush out all the toxins. If you want more information you should check out The Detox Cookbook, it’s sub-title is ‘Cleansing for Food Lovers’ so you know you won’t starve ;)
Are you yay or nay on the humble detox?
Nuts and seeds are packed full of yummy goodness, containing protein, unsaturated fats, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, fibre, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, selenium and the list goes on. If you don’t know what any of these do, then trust me when I say they are good for you :) However because they are quite high in unsaturated fats (don’t worry these fats are heart-healthy) eat in moderation, a small handful of nuts is all you should be eating in a day.
Nuts and seeds contain natural inhibitors such as phytic acid, tannins and enzymes that prevent them from sprouting until conditions are right. In nature when the temperature is right and there has been enough water ie rain the nut or seed will germinate to produce a plant. So soaking nuts or seeds is basically mimicking nature and breaking down all of their natural defenses making it easier for our bodies to digest. Soaking also increases the availability of nutrients and vitamins, which is always a good thing.
How do I soak my nuts, you ask…
I like to soak my nuts in a jar ;)
Place the nuts and seeds in a bowl or glass filled with room temperature water and soak for 12 hours, I usually leave mine overnight.
When the time is up simply drain and rinse well – it is not unusual for the water to smell a little bit funky after the 12 hours but this will wash away when you rinse the nuts.
Eat and enjoy :)
I’m a big advocate for a good night’s sleep, it’s essential for recharging the body and the mind. Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and a poor immune system, not to mention irritability and moodiness.
Sleep is also important for your brain; the process of memory consolidation happens when we sleep, allowing the brain to commit new information we have learnt throughout the day. Needless to say, sleep is important for us to be less walking zombie and more functioning human being.
I haven’t been sleeping very well lately. I have WAY too much on my mind and I’ve been spending time lying in bed making mental checklists and silently singing Insomnia by Faithless instead of sleeping. After about 20 mins of not falling asleep I usually decide it’s time to implement one of my ‘Go to Sleep’ tactics.
I almost always have success with at least one of these techniques, although sometimes I do need to go through all three before I get success. Next time you can’t sleep give one a go and see if they work for you.
- Ujjayi breathing – this is a common breathing technique used in yoga and involves constricting the throat so that it feels like you are breathing through a straw. It will create a small hissing sound, almost like a gentle snore. When you are having trouble sleeping practice a few rounds of ujjayi, taking slow deep breaths and focussing on the sound made, this will help to quiet the mind and prepare you for sleep.
- Stream Visualisation – this is a visualisation technique that I was taught by my boss a few years back, it involves visualising that you are lying beside a flowing river or stream. Once you have that image begin counting slowly from 1 to 10, if a thought pops up and interrupts your counting place it into the stream and watch it float away, then start counting from 1 to 10 again. You may have to do this a few times but eventually your mind will be clear and you will get so bored with counting to 10 you’ll drop right off to sleep.
- Progressive muscle relaxation – this is a technique that involves tensing and then relaxing each of your muscles, I like to do this from head to toe but you can also go in the opposite direction. There is a variation of this often used in yoga nidra meditation where instead of tensing the muscle you gently place the focus on each part of the body. Both of these variations will help to relax your entire body and stop you from creating those mental checklists.
What are your favourite techniques for helping you get to sleep? Anyone count sheep?