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Instant-messaging, food-to-go, flash sales, relentless emails – all factors contributing to the increasingly fast pace of modern day life. Staying calm before and winding down after a busy day have never been trickier to master.

 

Ashwagandha hand

All of us are beautifully unique and have different ways of managing this busy lifestyle but fortunately, to supplement these there is a natural remedy out there to help restore calm and balance to our bodies and minds.  

Introducing ashwagandha…

Whilst some of us are still to learn of the benefits of ashwagandha in the UK, it has been used for hundreds of years in India to not only manage stress-related conditions but also help with chronic fatigue, insomnia and adrenal fatigue to name a few.  

Classed as a modern-day ‘adaptogen’, ashwagandha adapts to the needs of the body, helping to support it and reduce negative changes during times of emotional and physical stress.

Here are five ashwagandha benefits:

  1. Stress is often at the root of our sleeping problems. When we’re troubled, our sleep is too. Ashwagandha nourishes and strengthens a weakened and over-anxious nervous system, helping the body respond better to stress. Thus helping us to relax enough to get a better night’s sleep.
  2. Ashwagandha acts as a depressant to the central nervous system, exchanging feelings of anxiety for feelings of calmness. Stress normally causes a surge in the adrenal hormones – adrenaline and cortisol – that increase alertness. Ashwagandha tackles the problem at the root as it acts directly on the trigger of stress by regulating the imbalanced cortisol level and nourishing the adrenal glands. A recent study found that ashwagandha safely and effectively improved chronic stress levels in adults taking it daily for 60 days.
  3. A big added bonus of taking ashwagandha capsules is its ability to protect your skin. Stress can play a large role in skin damage by producing high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, which in turn, blocks the production of important proteins that are necessary for healthy skin. One of these proteins is collagen, which helps to keep skin firm and elastic.
  4. Further studies have found that taking ashwagandha capsules can improve muscle strength, making it the perfect solution for reducing stress, improving sleep and making those trips to the gym even more effective.
  5. Ashwagandha can be taken to help improve libido in women and testosterone and stamina in men, a recent study has shown. When we are stressed we produce a lot more adrenaline and place pressure on our adrenal glands and organs such as our kidneys. Ashwagandha regulates the amount of adrenalin produced and strengthens organs; improving stamina as well as increasing sperm count and motility in men, and improving libido and ability to achieve orgasm in women.

Wholistic Ashwagandha 60 Caps – RRP €28

 

ashwaganda product shot

Ashwagandha is an organic whole root, native to the dry regions of India and is often referred to as ‘Indian Ginseng’. It’s considered one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing and has been used for centuries. Pukka’s Ashwagandha contains only the highest grade, sustainably cultivated organic root. Ashwagandha is an excellent supplement for helping strengthen the immune system, particularly after an illness. It’s made from organic ashwagandha and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Pukka’s Wholistic Ashwagandha is also free from dairy, wheat grain, gluten, added sugar and soy and is available from all good health stores nationwide.

I’m so excited to have snapchat star James Kavanagh for my first Wellness Wednesday on my new revamped website! James has been hurled into the public eye over the past six months due to his over-active, humorous Snapchat account (jamesksnaps) which consist of scare Snaps of his boyfriend William, cooking demos and appearances from his alter-ego Veronica Sachs. His energy is contagious and if you need a boost just jump on and watch his day! More recently he came to my attention when he chatted to his nephew Sean about autism. Sean was refreshing, articulate and definitely took a little piece of my heart that day where he will stay.

Here they are hiding out in one of James favourite plants!!!

 

As James’ life can seem like a bit of a whirlwind sometimes I wanted to know if or how he finds any balance in his day and as you’re about to find out this posh granny just loves food, flowers and destressing with baking. I just wish I realized his top health tip at 26!!

How would you describe your lifestyle?

Eclectic. It sounds so stereotypical and eye-roll inducing to say, but no two days are the same for me. I work with lots of deadly brands because of my Snapchat profile, I have just launched a food brand with my boyfriend called  Currabinny , I do freelance consultancy and I co-run a club-night once a month. So, my weeks are always all over the place!

What’s your favorite food? Naughty or nice.

It changes ALL the time. Right now I am obsessed with halloumi. I’ve been trying it in all sorts of things, but I mainly just like frying it in olive oil and eating it straight out of the pan. It’s heaven.

Do you exercise and if so what do you do to keep fit?

I run a lot. I would mostly run first thing in the morning – mainly to wake up. It’s such a great mood-boosting start to the day. Now, I don’t do marathons; more like 15 min runs around Phibsboro, like a madman, and then I fling myself into the shower when I get back. I try do a gym session at least once a week.

How do you find balance in your day-to-day life?

I always ‘switch off’ (or try to) at about 6pm and watch Netflix. I’m also mad about flowers and plants, so you’ll often catch me watering/ pruning my plants in the evening, or flower arranging and dispersing flowers throughout the house in vases. I am a posh old lady at heart.

How do you manage stress in your life? Do you meditate? Have you ever tried it?

As above, I like to garden a bit and I tend to bake when I’m stressed. I am obsessed with Lyric FM, so I often put that on and bake a cake. It’s heavenly. See, I am totally a posh granny.

People often set goals or intentions as they go through life. Is this something you do?

 Yes, I’m all about the goals. My goal is to have a café within two years. With things, I’m either completely uninterested or totally obsessed. So if I set a goal I think I can do, I’ll obsess about it and go hell for leather.

How do you unwind after a busy day?

As above; Netflix or flower arranging. I’m not a reader, but I’m mad for audio books. I’m currently listening to ‘You Must Remember This’ – it’s all about old Hollywood. It’s fascinating.

It’s the weekend, what do you do for fun?

Food markets. Myself and William are always looking out for new ones. I could spend my entire life rambling around food markets.

What’s your top health tip for our readers?

Totally simple, but moderation. Everything in moderation. Don’t overdo anything; work, food or exercise. Find a routine that suits YOU and ignore fad diets.

Finish the sentence – Being complete for me means…

Always having access to delicious food.

CURRABINNY, james kavanagh, wellness wednesday, snapchat star, lifestylequiz, be complete, wellness, balance, AUTISM AWARENESSIf you are not on snapchat you can follow James on:

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James reaches and influences an audience of over 40,000 people daily. e has been a very welcome voice helping to raise awareness around mental health issues and often shares his feminist and anti-bullying views.

He’ll be selling food, alongside William, at various markets over the next year or so all with the goal of one day owning a cafe one day. I for one hope that’s sooner rather than later!!

CHECK OUT THEIR AWESOME NEW WEBSITE www.currabinny.ie

This week I’m chatting to Top Irish model Sarah McGovern. Sarah is a truly beautiful person inside and out and we have been working together for many years now. In our business no two days are the same so it can be a challenge trying to find a balance but what I love about Sarah is that she never gives up, as you’ll see in her interview. When something is not working she just tries something new. Her honesty is refreshing and I think most parents will relate to Sarah’s daily challenges.

Sarah Mc Govern, wellness wednesday, lifestyle quiz, health and wellness, top model, andrea roche agancy, health, inspiration, motivation, parenting, mummy, irish model, balance, life, be complete, alison canavanSarah is a model with the Andrea Roche Model Agency and a Wholesale agent with ‘The Showroom’ in Fashion City. She is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and also an Ambassador for the National Spring Clean Campaign. She is a very proud mom to Jude, 4, and Robyn, 2 and is very happily married to Kenny for over 7 years now.

Sarah Mc Govern, wellness wednesday, lifestyle quiz, health and wellness, top model, andrea roche agancy, health, inspiration, motivation, parenting, mummy, irish model, balance, life, be complete, alison canavan

Image by Sandals and Greenhouse

How would you describe your lifestyle? 

In one word.. ‘Hectic’!! With a 2 and a 4 year old and juggling two jobs, life is hectic! Because no two days, let alone weeks are the same, it’s hard to find some sort of balance in my life. I think it’s the same for most parents though, so I know I’m not alone! Being self-employed, you never want to turn down work so I just take it as it comes and work a day at a time. It does mean not being able to plan too much ahead and cancelling plans with family and friends quite often but it’s just the way it is for the moment!

What’s your favorite food? Naughty or nice.

I have a total sweet tooth unfortunately and chocolate is my vice! I try to eat a well balanced diet though but I always love something sweet after my lunch and dinner.

Do you exercise and if so what do you do to keep fit?

I have always exercised my whole life, until I got to baby number 2! I loved sport as a kid and then always went to the gym and had a personal trainer before and during my pregnancies (I decided to put the money into having a trainer than going private) I was as fit as a fiddle for both births but after number two came along I found it really hard to fit exercise and work all in to a day that was already busy with two kids!

At first I tried baby body fit classes where you could bring the baby but Robyn crawled at 6 months and so it was hard when you spend the time trying to bring her back to your mat! I took Pilates up again once a week and while I love it, work sometimes gets in the way of the classes. I tried Crossfit for a season but again work kept getting in the way and trying to make classes made me more stressed out!!

So I started running just last week again and I’m hoping to keep that and the Pilates up and id love to get into Form school to do some Ballet Barre classes soon. My friend Aoife owns it with her husband Gordon. The classes are brilliant. I just need to make more ‘me time’ to get there!

How do you find balance in your day-to-day life? 

Honestly I don’t feel I have any balance and if I find it, I’ll bottle it and sell it as I think so many parents feel like this!!

The kids are in crèche two days a week now, but neither started until they were nearly two so juggling work with finding babysitters was always a little challenging! However, since they are both in crèche, it’s giving me some stability to my week, where I can work without having to worry about them. I have the best crèche too! Also I find if I’m fully organised the night before for the next day, then I can start the day as stress free as possible and that adds a little bit of balance to my day too!!

How do you manage stress in your life? Do you meditate? 

No unfortunately I think I just take it out on my poor husband or at least he gets to hear about a stressful day even if he doesn’t want to! I’m a talker and so I just generally get it off my chest and it makes me feel better!!

Have you ever tried meditation? No but I like the idea of it.

People often set goals or intentions as they go through life. Is this something you do?

I always privately set goals or do a lot of planning in my head, but I should really write things down. I know they say that your goals are more likely come to fruition if they are written down. I’ve been very fortunate to have achieved so many goals and intentions so far with family, work, travelling etc but I need to start looking at the next chapter in my life now!

How do you unwind after a busy day? 

I generally like to tidy up after the kids go to bed and get ready for the next day. Weirdly it helps me unwind! Then a cup of peppermint tea and some chocolate while watching a little bit of TV before bed. Nothing fancy I’m afraid!!

It’s the weekend, what do you do for fun?  

Spend time with the kids and depending on the weather, we would go somewhere for a walk or go visit family and catch up with the cousins! The odd weekend we’d catch up with friends too.

What’s your top health tip for our readers? 

 My grandmother always drank hot water, especially with lemon in the morning. She had beautiful skin and so I have it in the mornings too! Breakfast is so important and I try have a healthy one every morning to start off my day well. Everything in moderation too!

Finish the sentence – Being complete for me means… Being happy and content!

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So only four more sleeps till Santa gets here and as this is also the time of year when we can lose our way a bit, this mindful monday i’ve decided to share my Top 5 Tips for staying on track this holiday season

  1. HYDRATE FIRST THING EVERY MORNING

Keeping hydrated is important every day but over Christmas you might need a bit extra if you have been out at your Christmas party. Your kidney’s and liver will thank you for the helping hand. Starting your day with warm lemon is a great idea and then try and remember to drink water throughout the day.

2. MOVE EVERY DAY AND GET FRESH AIR

It’s so important that we get out and get some fresh air over Christmas especially on Christmas day. Even a 10-minute walk will work wonders and help you digest or indeed prepare for your Christmas dinner. If you are prone to depression and feeling low its imperative that you get up and get out especially during Christmas and remember it’s only a short walk because small changes make a big difference.

3. USE THE 80/20 RULE WITH FOOD AND FUN

I use the 80/20 rule in my daily life and it has helped me to break negative patterns that I have been struggling with for years. It has finally enabled me to have some balance. So enjoy your Christmas dinner (80%) and have some dessert (20%) just try and find a balance so you don’t feel bad. Christmas is a time to rest, relax and be happy. It is certainly not the time to make yourself feel bad about the decisions you make.

4. REMEMBER TO BREATHE

Breathing is essential for survival but it can also come in handy to survive Christmas when someone pushes your buttons (family, in laws!) or when you feel stressed. Simply count to 5 on your in breath and do the same on your out breath. I do this 10 times and I find it helps enormously!

5. ENJOY YOURSELF

Yes enjoy yourself! Try and be present and enjoy the simple things like time with your loved ones and if you are a parent enjoy seeing the magic of Christmas come alive through your child’s eyes. The real spirit of Christmas comes from our hearts and not from what we give to each other so open your heart to both let love in and share the love you have in there too.

Ali xxx

For this week’s #WellnessWednesday I’m delighted to chatting about all things lifestyle and health with the beautiful and bubbly model and lifestyle blogger Madeline Mulqueen. I recently spent time with Madeline on a retreat and we had great giggles and a lot of fun. She recently returned from a trip to Zambia where she was filming a documentary with fellow models Teo Sutra, Irma Mali, TV presenter Diana Bunici and journalist, presenter and reporter Siobhan O’Connor where they were helping to build emergency shelter for impoverished street children.

She’s admits her life is very fast paced but she loves it and she finds balance by having snuggly nights in on the couch with her fiance actor Jack Reynor

Madeline mulqueen, actor jack reynor, transformer, wellness wednesday, irish model and fitness fanatic, lifestyle blogger, catwalk to kwabe, health and wellness, lifestyle quiz

How would you describe your lifestyle? 

I’d say my lifestyle is fast paced and pretty unpredictable but it keeps me on my toes.

What’s your favorite food? Naughty or nice. 

My favourite food would have to be Italian or a hearty Irish dinner. I can’t live without potatoes!

Do you exercise and if so what do you do to keep fit?

I love working out. My main form of exercise is Proformer Pilates with Pilates Plus Dublin. It’s great for keeping in shape but is also very relaxing for the mind.

How do you find balance in your day-to-day life? 

I make lists for everything. I find my mind races around in circles if I don’t have everything I need to do written down. My day runs a lot smoother when I don’t need to think about what I have to do, I just do it. Making time for myself is always on that list.

How do you manage stress in your life? Do you meditate? Have you ever tried it? 

If I’m super stressed I do some yoga and a few minutes of meditation. Both are incredible for managing stress and anxiety.

I also love to colour. I get lost in time when I colour it’s a lovely feeling. 

People often set goals or intentions as they go through life. Is this something you do?

Yes absolutely. It’s always good for the mind to work towards something. It’s nice to set yourself near future goals that are realistic and achievable. It’s a great way of keeping you motivated for the bigger goals ahead.

How do you unwind after a busy day? 

Cuddling up on the couch with my boy and watching a movie is the go to, as long as there is enough milk for copious cups of tea. Other than that I love a good pamper evening to myself.  

It’s the weekend, what do you do for fun? 

I love being around my friends as much as possible. I usually have my friends over for dinner and giggles on the weekends when I’m at home.

What’s your top health tip for our readers? 

Take care of your mind just as much as your body.

Finish the sentence – Being complete for me means… always being in the present. If I focus too much on the past or future I start to lose my sense of self. I am happiest and complete when I’m living in the present.

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For this weeks #WellnessWednesday I’m chatting to the owners and founders of Leaves, Italian chef Nico Olivieri and his wife Sabine, a dutch health researcher.

Leaves is an Irish based artisan company that have recently launched their unique and exciting range of high protein pasta made from buckwheat and chick peas.

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