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Christmas can take its toll on our immune system as a lot of us eat more and move less.

If you are tired of cooking and entertaining I have the perfect recipe using shitake mushroom that’s not only quick and easy but nutritious and delicious too.

Shitake Mushroom’s are known not only for their great taste but they’re packed with B vitamins and have the power to fight cancer cells, cardiovascular disease and infections. They have anti bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. During the winter months they are one of the few foods that provide vitamin D and they also help to boost energy and brain function.

As we move into January our food becomes even more important as many of us struggle with low mood and feel a bit of a crash post Christmas. It’s important to remember that January is a month for selfcare and not crazy resolutions. It’s still the middle of winter, which is the gestation period for both nature and us. It’s a month for inward reflection as we prepare for the year ahead.

To do this we need nourishing food, nourishing thoughts and nourishing rest. Pop in some movement and air and you will be ready for Spring where you will emerge stronger ready for the year ahead.

Try this simple recipe, which is great for all the family and it will help you to ease into the new-year with comfort and calm.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

3 Cloves garlic

Large handful of shitake mushroom’s (see video)

1 Lemon

Handful of Basil

Fresh Parmesan

Salt/Black pepper

Barilla Spaghetti

DIRECTIONS

Boil water and put in pasta with some salt

  • Heat the pan and add oil and garlic
  • Add chopped shitake mushrooms and cook until softened (5-8 mins depending on mushrooms)
  • Add in ½ a lemon zest
  • Squeeze in ½ juice of lemon
  • Save a cup of water from the pasta
  • Add pasta and then parmesan and stir through
  • If it’s a little dry add some of the water
  • Plate and serve with fresh black pepper and parmesan shavings

Barilla calling on students to unlock their inner TriHero

triheroes, shitake mushroom, barilla, recipes, schools, exercise, selfcare, shitake mushrooms, sport, pastaPrimary and secondary schools are being encouraged to register for TriHeroes, a schools triathlon programme which brings together the lifelong activities of swimming, cycling and running to inspire, motivate and challenge children to participate in a healthy and active lifestyle.

The TriHeroes programme, delivered by Triathlon Ireland and supported by Barilla, a family owned Italian food company and advocate for a healthy lifestyle, helps teachers introduce triathlon activities in a safe and positive environment.

Delivered by Triathlon Ireland’s development team, the programme is typically run over six 90-minute training sessions with students taking part in a mini triathlon at the end of the programme giving students a taste of this hugely popular sport and exposing them to three sports that could see them excel in the Leaving Cert and later life.

Primary and secondary schools can find out more about the TriHeroes programme at www.triathlonireland.com and register their interest at schools@triathlonireland.com.

A gourmet selection of recipes, perfect for budding triathletes and prepared with seasonal ingredients for vegetarians, as well as meat and fish lovers is available at www.barilla.co.uk.

Sponsored by 

Things can get hectic in the run up to Christmas so along with Barilla I have put together some healthy and nutritious quick and easy dishes.

I have been working with Barilla the past few months to help promote their TriHeroes campaign. There are so many reasons why this campaign is of interest to me. As I work in the area of mental health awareness and health coaching its so important to understand the real benefits of sport. When I was in school a lot of us dropped out of gym class and ate bad food. This affects your performance academically, mentally and physically.

RESEARCH

Recent Sport Ireland research has shown that students who play sport achieve, on average, higher points in the Leaving Cert than those that do not. It also highlighted that swimming; cycling and running are the most likely sports to be continued into adult life.

The workload is school can be overwhelming and very often exercise can be dropped early on. This schools triathlon programme gives students the chance to participate in a healthy and active lifestyle and have fun. 

DIRECTIONS AND STEPS FOR PASTA DISH

PESTO PASTA WITH CHICKEN, BROCCOLI AND GREEN PEAS

SERVES 2

  • Enough pasta for 2 people (I used Barilla pasta which really grips the sauce)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • ¾ broccoli florets
  • 1 avocado
  • 125ml single cream
  • 3 generous Tbsp. Barilla basil pesto
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Copped basil to serve

DIRECTIONS

Boil water and put in pasta with some salt

  • Pour oil into a hot pan and then add garlic and onions until they are softened.
  • The add chicken cooking slowly and when half cooked
  • Add in Broccoli
  • Add in peas just a couple of minutes towards the end
  • Pour in the cooked pasta and
  • Spoon in 3 large spoons of pesto
  • Stir well and serve with a half sliced avocado and garnish with chopped fresh basil

Barilla calling on students to unlock their inner TriHero

Primary and secondary schools are being encouraged to register for TriHeroes, a schools triathlon programme which brings together the lifelong activities of swimming, cycling and running to inspire, motivate and challenge children to participate in a healthy and active lifestyle.

The TriHeroes programme, delivered by Triathlon Ireland and supported by Barilla, a family owned Italian food company and advocate for a healthy lifestyle, helps teachers introduce triathlon activities in a safe and positive environment.

Delivered by Triathlon Ireland’s development team, the programme is typically run over six 90-minute training sessions with students taking part in a mini triathlon at the end of the programme giving students a taste of this hugely popular sport and exposing them to three sports that could see them excel in the Leaving Cert and later life.

Primary and secondary schools can find out more about the TriHeroes programme at www.triathlonireland.com and register their interest at schools@triathlonireland.com.

A gourmet selection of recipes, perfect for budding triathletes and prepared with seasonal ingredients for vegetarians, as well as meat and fish lovers is available at www.barilla.co.uk.

New to Yoga? Don’t know what all the fuss is about?

Here are my top 10 reasons to try it

For a newcomer to yoga you might find that explanations like “It increases the flow of prana” or “It brings energy up your spine” fall on deaf or sceptical ears! Or seeing someone in an inverted head stand pose gets you thinking – “Oh Heck! I could never do that”!

Please don’t be put off by this. Yoga really is for EVERYONE. All ages, genders, shapes and sizes. There are many styles of Yoga, some are fast paced, others are gentle. It’s just about finding a class that resonates with you.

Yoga means Union – The union or the connection between mind and body, and body with spirit. It really means to establish a connection back home to yourself.

To truly understand yoga and reap its overall benefits is to engage this union, this connection between mind, body and spirit. Yoga is about releasing tightness and tensions from the muscles but also from your internal world of thoughts and emotions.

When you begin to fully embrace the practice of yoga, you will be taken on a spiritual journey! You will begin to FEEL its transformative effects, not just in body, but in mind and soul.

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  1. Yoga improves your self- esteem, increases self- awareness and boosts confidence levels. By stretching and squeezing the body and by incorporating various breathing exercises you begin to unlock stagnant or stale energy and release blockages in your energy field (also known as your Chakras). When you breathe, stretch, release and let go, both physically and mentally, you begin to heighten your awareness and elevate your vibrational energy field. As a result, you end up feeling lighter, taller, stronger and more confident in the body, and clearer in the mind.

 

  1. Yoga increases core strength, improves muscle tone and helps maintain a healthy body weight. Without any doubt, regular yoga increases muscle tone and helps build abs! Yoga can influence weight loss, but often it is not in the “traditional” sense of how we link physical activity to weight loss. Depending on your yoga class – for example; HOT yoga or Bikram yoga can burn up to 1000 calories per class, as it is an intense workout style of yoga. Other gentler yoga practices often burn fewer calories than traditional exercise (e.g., running, cycling); however, yoga can increase one’s mindfulness and sense of self -care, so the way one relates to their body is different. We begin to love ourselves enough not to over eat or self-sabotage, which is a much more rewarding and life changing outcome.

 

  1. Yoga Detoxifies the body and can prevent against disease. As you twist and rotate and stretch and squeeze, it massages the internal organs and brings fresh blood supply to enable them to function at their best.

 

  1. Yoga helps decrease stress and anxiety and reduce nervous tension. Stress can reveal itself in many ways, including back or neck pain, sleeping problems, headaches, emotional eating, substance abuse and so on. Yoga’s incorporation of meditation and breathing can really help improve a person’s mental well-being. It can be useful in reaching a more calm and centred state and help achieve a more positive outlook on life.

 

  1. Yoga increases flexibility, mobility, stability and improves posture. Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga, along with increased strength and muscle tone. Strong muscles do more than look good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain. The combination of the above will results in less injury and reduced aches and pains in the body.

 

  1. It increases concentration, focus and mental clarity.  A big part of yoga is maintaining balance and being present in the moment. This transfers into life off the mat. Regular yoga practice improves coordination, reaction time, memory, and brings more stability and balance in our physical and emotional world.

 

  1. Yoga provides energy, vitality and improves the immune system. When you contract and stretch muscles, move organs around, and come in and out of yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.

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  1. Yoga improves sleep and enhances inner peace. At the end of a yoga class you come into the gorgeous savansa pose – ‘corpse pose’ for a mediation as part of a cool-down sequence. At this point the body is relaxed, which enables the mind to become quiet. This is often where people get great moments of insight and feel utter inner peace. This definitely helps to enhance a state of easy slumber.

 

  1. Yoga improves your emotional intelligence. Emotionally yoga teaches us how to be loving and compassionate toward ourselves, because as human beings, we have self-defeating and self-limiting tendencies. Practicing yoga brings the content of our beings to the surface so we can see it. Inside the muscles, we hold the memories of every emotion we’ve ever experienced: sadness, fear, anger, love etc. Through the asanas (postures), we can tap into these memories and process our pasts. It’s the asanas that release the emotions out of the body.

 

  1. Yoga helps to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and elevate your sense of self-care. In yoga, we come onto the mat to stop. To listen. To feel. We come on the mat to get some stillness in a world that is often so chaotic. We get on the mat to re-connect back to ourselves, to centre ourselves and to in effect ground ourselves. By doing this, it enables us to feel more gratitude in our lives. It allows us to feel our heart beating and to honour this life that we have. It provides us with some time and space to simply just be. To self-care, self soothe and reconnect.

If yoga is a new concept to you, I hope you can embrace it with an openness and a willingness, and enjoy the journey it takes you on.

#FitnessFriday

With exams around the corner it is easy to feel overwhelmed. There is no doubt that exam time can be a very stressful and daunting time for students (and sometimes parents).

Whether your studying for your junior cert, leaving cert, or college exams, it is important to look after yourself at this stressful period. I have teamed up with Eskimo Omegas to bring you our best Exams Tips to help you get through exam time smoothly.

During exam time you rely on one brain function above all others; Memory.

Relax, breathe, and remember you got this!

  1. Organization is key!

exam stress, exam tips, study, tips, eskimo omegas, eskimo 3.6.9, balanced diet, food ,nutrition, alison canavan, becomplete, exam time, study tipsHaving an organised approach to your studies really is half the battle!

Ensure you have a place to study and you have all your necessary subject books, test papers, stationary before you start your study session.

Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. Break it down to simpler tasks.

Daily plan – This is what you can do day-to-day

  • Make a to-do list
  • Keep track of your assignments
  • What areas of study you need to focus on

Weekly Plan – overall plan for the week.

  • Dates of tests coming up
  • Tasks to be achieved this week

It is important to set a realistic timetable. If it is too demanding it will only end up stressing you out. Keep it simple.

 

  1. Eat a balanced diet

exam stress, exam tips, study, tips, eskimo omegas, eskimo 3.6.9, balanced diet, food ,nutrition, alison canavan, becomplete, exam time, study tipsEating healthily during the exam period is a great way of letting everything else take care of itself!

Good nutrition is essential at any time of the year, but especially during an exam year when your brain and body are under great stress.

Plenty of fruits, vegetables, seeds, protein and good fats are vital!

 

  1. Drink plenty of water

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Stay hydrated. Try to minimize sugary drinks and caffeine and aim for 2L of water per day! When dehydrated the body and mind becomes dazed and restless so getting that much needed H20 will help you keep your mind clear and your energy levels up!

 

  1. Take regular breaks – exercise!

exam stress, exam tips, study, tips, eskimo omegas, eskimo 3.6.9, balanced diet, food ,nutrition, alison canavan, becomplete, exam time, study tipsGet some fresh air and exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. This stimulates the brain and helps to de-stress and focus the mind.

Plan your revision so you can take breaks and revise what you’ve just learned before moving on to anything new. Plus, it makes for a nice respite from studying – win, win.

 

  1. Talk through what you learnt

Sometimes saying it out loud and saying it back to yourself in your own words can help you memorize what you just have just learnt.

 

  1. Past Papers

Practice make perfect! Look at previous exam papers and make note of what type of questions come up in what years. Look up sample answers and revision notes.

[bctt tweet=”During exam time you rely on one brain function above all others; Memory. Relax, breathe, and remember you got this!” username=”alicanavan”]

  1. Avoid distractions

exam stress, exam tips, study, tips, eskimo omegas, eskimo 3.6.9, balanced diet, food ,nutrition, alison canavan, becomplete, exam time, study tipsDevote your full attention to the task at hand. Yes, we know this sometimes can be a struggle – considering that the urge to procrastinate is at an all-time high. Ensure that you smartphone is turned off, on silent or left outside your study space. You can check your snapchats, Instagram and Facebook later at breaks!

 

  1. Get those much needed Zzzz’s

exam stress, exam tips, study, tips, eskimo omegas, eskimo 3.6.9, balanced diet, food ,nutrition, alison canavan, becomplete, exam time, study tipsSleep plays a critical role in memory and helps you retain information better.

Think of is as if your smartphone updating – the same way it needs the updates to keep functioning at top speed – so too you need your sleep to retain information.

Try to avoid all-nighters to avoid burn out. Go to bed and get up early to study that morning if needs be.

 

  1. Flashcards

exam stress, exam tips, study, tips, eskimo omegas, eskimo 3.6.9, balanced diet, food ,nutrition, alison canavan, becomplete, exam time, study tipsSmall, portable and one of the best ways to best to learn.

These cards are great for writing out short notes, keywords, and questions. Write out a question or a term on one side of the flashcard and the answer on the other side.

They are a great way to test yourself. Do a speed round – see how many you can get right in 10 minutes. Keep your flashcards subject divided and place all the ones your get right in one pile and the ones you get incorrect in another and then go over again.

ACRONYMS

Acronyms are words formed from the first letter of the first work of each point/ fact you want to remember.

Keep notes clear, simple and organised. Use colour.

 

Omega-3 – A Vital Part of Exam Preparation

 Omega-3, is a vital part of exam preparation. Our bodies can’t produce omega-3, so we need to get it through our diet.  Omega-3, the main beneficial fatty acid in fish oil, has been shown to

 

  • Reduce anxiety during exams by 20%
  • Improve memory and cognitive ability
  • Improved concentration – one study showed increased concentration within 2 hours of taking omega-3 proving that its never too late to start taking your omega-3s.
  • Helps improve learning and balance moods
  • Aids sleep which results in greater performance during the day.
  • Strengthens the immune system so that you don’t get run down.

 

Increasing your level of omega-3, either through diet or supplementation can lead to improved concentration, a sharper memory, less anxiety, overall making it easier to study.

It’s no surprise that omega-3 is so beneficial to brain health. The importance of these fatty acids becomes most obvious when they’re lacking. People who don’t get enough omega-3s in their diet can become demotivated, disinterested, forgetful and may experience low mood, while serious deficiency can lead to an increased risk of developing conditions such as ADD, dyslexia and depression.

DHA – A True Brain Food

 Just as calcium is essential for building strong bones, DHA is essential for good brain health. Studies show that you need 250mg DHA daily to support brain health. DHA helps to improve learning, mood, memory and concentration. To obtain omega-3, you can either eat 2 portions of oily fish per week (salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, fresh tuna) or supplement with a high quality fish oil such as Eskimo Brain 3.6.9.

Get Focused with Eskimo Brain 369

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Whether you’re doing exams or just looking to increase brain power, Eskimo Brain 369 is the food supplement for you. With high levels of omega-3 DHA along with seed oils, vitamin D, E and CoQ10, your brain power will surge in no time.

Consumer Feedback

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#collaboration #TherapyThursday

As we move out of the winter months we might want to put a spring in our step by upping our physical game. With the best of intentions the winter simply doesn’t lend itself to a lot of physical exertion due to dark nights and cold mornings. After winters gestation period spring is an opportunity and a time for rebirth. It’s a chance to look at the world through fresh eyes and also try something new.

When it comes to exercise I like to switch up my routine as we enter a new season. To be honest I get bored and I love to challenge my body by switching up my classes.

I’m a huge fan of Reformer Pilates and I can credit these classes with helping me to regain my post baby body a few years ago. It’s been quite a while though since I took a class though but I decided to return to Pilates Performance Ireland (PPI) in Dundrum and see if the passion was still there.

reformer pilates, positively physical, exercise, full body workout, pilates performanceThe Reformer is a bed like frame with springs and straps attached! Don’t let that frighten you because the best thing about this exercise is that your back and body are supported by the bed at all times which is great for me as I have a bad back from a car accident. The Reformer gives you a full body workout and it also helps to build a very strong core. Half way through the class I felt a huge smile appear on my face as I realized just how much I missed these classes.

I felt grounded and really connected to my body as the instructors encourage you to really use your breath with each movement. It’s a potent destressing exercise for many reasons. The deep breathing helps to calm your central nervous system and the movements help to really move your energy through your body. Your circulation gets a boost, your spine and muscles are stimulated and of course those feel good hormones wake up and start to flood your body too.

Because of the strong focus on core strength your balance and posture will also be improved and in an age of computers where we sit at desks for long periods of time I welcome any exercise that helps with that. Your flexibility will also increase and what I like is that it really helps to give you a lean shape and stretches out the muscles as opposed to bulking them.

IMG_1893 Pilates Performance Ireland offer a wide range of classes suitable for all levels and abilities. You can also book personal sessions which I would advise anyone who has injuries or back problems to do as the owner Sarah MacLachann who is a Pilates master is excellent and can really help you to get to the root of your problems and work slowly with you to build your strength back up.

**As printed in Positive Life Magazine

I like trying new and different exercise classes, primarily because I get bored and my body does too. Recently I have been trying lots of new and interesting exercise classes and styles in London. Here are two of my recent favourites Calisthenics and TRX Yoga Core.

BLOK LONDON

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I had heard a lot about Blok London and met them at the Jack Wills press morning back in January so I was eager to get down there and try a class.

I decided to try a Calisthenics class, primarily because I had never heard of it and before I took the class I had absolutely no idea what to expect. As you can see I like the element of surprise and boy was I surprised but in a good way. Calisthenics is a Greek word meaning beauty and strength and it has four components basics, conditioning, strengthening and freestyle!

blok london, fitness, classes, london fit fam, be complete, feelgood, wellness, wellbeing, alison canavan, gyms london, ethos, calisthenics, TRX, yoga

It’s a full body workout using your own body weight. It was a very interesting class for me personally as I learnt a lot about how I feel in my body in a very different way to yoga and Pilates. Some fears crept up and even though I tried to push through I realized I have some body confidence work to do.

One of the reasons I like to add variety into my life and not just stick to the same routine is because I find when you get used to something it becomes boring and mundane. Also when you challenge yourself and switch things up you learn something new about yourself and we never stop learning, growing and evolving in this lifetime. It’s like a little shake up to keep things interesting.

 

blok london, fitness, classes, london fit fam, be complete, feelgood, wellness, wellbeing, alison canavan, gyms london, ethos, calisthenics, TRX, yoga

BLOK CAFE

I really tuned into my body in the class and noticed areas of weakness and pain and felt motivated to work on different things and push myself that bit harder.

The Calisthenics class really brought me into the space of mindset and how limiting it can be for us. Getting our body and mind to work together is so important and understanding that our mind can be a limiting factor in our growth and potential is the first step towards understanding that we can change it.

The teacher Jermaine Hunter has an amazing approach to fitness and wellbeing. He looks at everything through a 360 lens, which I love. He reads the class and pushes you to your own individual potential. I’ll definitely be back and I look forward to the day when I can do a handstand too!!

ETHOS

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The next morning the sun was shining and I was up bright and early to try out a TRX Yoga Core class at Ethos in Spitalfields market in East London with Lisa Hood. I was intrigued at how yoga and TRX could be merged or if it was even really a possibility. I absolutely loved it though and I was pleasantly surprised at the nice flow I managed throughout most of the class.

Again I tuned in to stronger and weaker aspects of my strength, which leaves me encouraged to keep working on my upper body strength. I struggled a lot at the end of the class with core work and exercises that moved us towards a headstand. Hopefully one day soon I will blog about finally managing to do a great headstand!

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Just like the Calisthenics class the TRX/Yoga mix really worked your entire body. I

always try and work with my breath to go deeper with any exercise I do. I used to hold my breath a lot, which I only realized when a teacher pointed it out to me. Your body moves easier with your breath. Think of yourself as one big team: mind, body and spirit and your breath is like the glue that ties it all together. So use your breath wisely both in and out of exercise class!

I try and push my body a little further each time I exercise but I have learnt that it’s about beating my personal best and not looking around the room like I used to. Like anything in life there will always be people better and worse than you. When you make yourself the competition it’s a game changer.

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The Ethos at Ethos – I love the last one!

Both gyms have great juice and smoothie bars. After my class at Blok I had some bone broth which is rich in mineral that support the immune system and a green detox smoothie full of yummy goodies like spirulina, pineapple – apple – spinach – kale – ginger – lemon – chlorella – wheatgrass and barleygrass. I topped that off with a turmeric latte, which is my new hot drink obsession.

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Cafe at Ethos

At ethos I had a wake up shake up (it was 7AM!), which was so tasty. It had bananas, strawberries, oats, almond milk and vanilla protein.

blok london, fitness, classes, london fit fam, be complete, feelgood, wellness, wellbeing, alison canavan, gyms london, ethos, calisthenics, TRX, yogaI’m really enjoying my little exercise ventures! Next up Reformer Pilates and Barre, I can’t wait!

 

Keep Moving and Shining Bright

 

Ali xxx

Digestion tips, peppermint tea, stress, hydrate, water, exercise, alison canavan, be complete, health and wellness, digestive issues, IBS, bloating, gas, cramps, intestines, good gut bacteria, terranova, probiotics,

  1. GET MOVING AND STRETCH

 

No better way to get your digestive system going than to get your body moving. So make sure to at least get a walk in every day. Stretching is also a great way to help move things along and both can help to stimulate your small intestine and get things moving in your colon!

SIMPLE STRETCH: Lie on the ground and stretch your arms up and legs as long as they can go. Then hug your knees into your stomach and start a cycling motion with your legs just like you would when you are trying to help a baby ease tummy troubles and wind. Yoga is also fantastic for getting a full body stretch combined with breathing as its helps you to tune into your bodies needs.

 

  1. DRINK MORE WATER!

 

I start every day with lemon water as it helps to kick start your digestion but it’s also important to keep sufficiently hydrated throughout the day, which an awful lot of us don’t do. Dehydration is actually one of the main causes of chronic constipation because water helps food to move through your intestines and if your body doesn’t have enough water your stools will be hard and difficult to pass. Check your urine to see if you are dehydrated. The lighter in colour the better!!

 

  1. EAT MORE FIBER

 

Fiber is something most of us don’t get enough of and its important as it keeps our gut healthy, digestive system running smoothly and it can actually help to control hunger as it keeps us feeling fuller for longer. Eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds like chia and flax, brown rice, wholemeal bread, quinoa and oats.

 

  1. INCREASE YOUR GOOD GUT BACTERIA WITH PROBIOTICS

 

Probiotics are live bacteria or yeast that are great and essential for a healthy gut and digestive system. This is actually one of the most researched areas in medicine at the moment and what we are starting to realize is that the gut and the good bacteria that live there are far more important to our overall health than we realized with some people referring to our gut flora as “The Forgotten Organ”. Most of us are in what’s called dysbiosis in our gut and that’s when we have more bad than good bacteria in our gut, which is caused from things like poor diet, lifestyle and antibiotic use. So to help rebalance the bacteria try and eat less sugar, processed foods and reduce your alcohol intake. Increase foods like unsweetened live natural yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, kefir and kimchi. I also take The Terranova Probiotics €26.79 BUY HERE which contain a blend of “friendly” bacteria that are normal inhabitants within the intestinal tract.

 

  1. DE STRESS

 

I know instantly when I’m getting stressed as I get knots in my tummy! Ever heard the term “gut wrenching”? Well that’s literally what stress does to your gut. Too much stress is bad full stop so try to eat mindfully, not in front of the TV, in a rush or in front of your computer and chew your food well. These little tips will help you to digest your food easier and better!

 

  1. PEPPERMINT ANYONE?

 

Nothing like a nice peppermint tea after a meal to help ease digestive issues like bloating, gas, cramps or IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) due to the peppermints anti-spasmodic and analgesic properties. I also use a little peppermint essential oil under my tongue from Doterra too (you need to make sure they good quality oils and also oils you can ingest) (To buy oils email Caroline@honestabouthealth.com))

So here’s to a happy tummy,

Shine Bright,

Ali xx

We all let our hair down over christmas but you can exercise damage control and have fun too and to be honest you just simply feel better when you get up and get moving even if its just for 20-30 minutes a day. I train in Body Byrne so I asked them would they share some healthy holiday tips with my readers. So thank you Mike for these great tips and exercises!

General health tips for the holiday season:

Eat as close to nature as possible

If organic food is not available look for free range options

Use coconut oil, olive oil, or rapeseed oil as all are healthier cooking options.

Talk to your local butcher about where they source their meat and produce from.

Eat enough to be satisfied but not stuffed; remember that leftovers are just as good!

Substitute dark chocolate for milk chocolate

Always try and use real brown sugar as opposed to low-fat or synthetic versions

*TOP TIP: Our bodies need fuel to convert to energy, the better the quality of food the better our engine will run.

EXERCISE:

If possible start your day with a 30 min to 60 minute walk, followed by one or all of the exercises below.

1st SET

  1. All fitness levels (ages 13 & up)
  2. 1st thing in the morning 3 forearm planks/ 30-60 seconds dependent on fitness level.  15 second rest in between.
  3. 3 sets of press-ups 10-20 reps each. The option here is to be on your knees to make it easier.
  4. Chair dips: please be careful to make sure the chair or bench is secure and safe to handle the weight! 3 sets 10-20 reps each.

2nd SET

  1. All fitness levels (ages 13 & up)
  2. Mountain Climbers 30 seconds/ moderate pace. 3 sets
  3. Body weight squats/ Chest up, brace your core, sit back making sure knees do not come over your toes! Push up through your heels! 3-sets of 12 reps each.
  4. Body weight lunges/ Chest up, brace your core, push through your front heel! 3 sets/12 reps each.

BUT ABOVE ALL HAVE FUN AND A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE XXXXX

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