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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.

You would be forgiven for thinking that all fruit and vegetables are in season all year round, after all they are available all year round in our local supermarkets!

However, eating seasonally could actually be the best way to eat sensibly as there are real health benefits in sticking to fruit and veg that’s in season.

Here’s why:

  • Produce tastes better – When you eat produce that’s in season it’s a taste sensation as opposed to produce that’s in transit for nearly two weeks. The transit time alone and chilling reduces the flavour. When a fruit or vegetable is ripe and picked fresh not only will it taste better but it’s nutritionally superior too.
  • It’s better value – it stands to reason that when a farmer harvests produce in season it will not only be plentiful but cheaper because storage and transport are not necessary as its usually heading somewhere local.
  • It’s better for the planet too – our planet needs all the help it can get these days and every little helps. Buying local produce reduces fuel to fork costs, helping to reduce pollutant gases into the atmosphere. Growing fruit and veg in season requires lower levels of artificial inputs like heating, lighting, pesticides and fertilisers, making it better for the environment and you.
  • Seasonal vegetables suit our body – Our bodies our wise and we need to move with the seasons. What’s grown in nature each season is what our bodies crave for nourishment and optimal nutrition. In the summer we lean towards berries and salads but in the winter hearty soups and stews made from root vegetables is what we need. So build a comforting friendship with your crock-pot. After all, winter is all about grounding yourself and we can do this through food too.
  • We can support our local farmers –support and connection is really important for our health and wellbeing. When you buy local you not only help to support your local farmer but you also make a real connection to where your food came from.

Here’s a list of what’s in season now:

All year round you will have onions, carrots, chard, mushrooms, spinach, garlic, potatoes and salad leaves.

liz cook veg seasonal winter veg Liz Cook charts BUY HERE

December: Chestnuts, field mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, leeks, turnips, pumpkins, celery, rhubarb, red cabbage, kale, cauliflower, swede, cabbage, celeriac, beetroot, pears, cranberries, cooking apples and apples

January: Cabbage, Red cabbage, cauliflower, kale, swede, Brussels sprouts, celery leeks, parsnips, turnips, celeriac, beetroot, rhubarb, apples, pears, cooking apples

February: Purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, beetroot, cabbage, kale, turnip, rhubarb, celery, celeriac, red cabbage, apples, pears, cooking apples

I love shopping local and my! it’s a very different experience to the supermarket. My son is 6 and has built a relationship with the people at my local market. He knows where food comes from and is interested in the process. From farm to fork without all the logistics is preferable where possible. So please try and support our own and shop locally. Here’s a link to the market I attend in Dublin 8. Check it out The Green Door.

Christy Stapleton greendoor

Todays video is all about the most frequently asked question I get which is “Is healthy boring?” and if I’m honest this is what i used to think too. Now I know that living a healthy lifestyle is the gift that keeps on giving. Putting time and effort into your health and wellbeing brings side effects such as:

  • happiness,
  • health,
  • fresher complexion,
  • better sleep,
  • more productivity,
  • vitality and a
  • lust for life like never before

So join me and get on the healthy train today

Ali xxx

VIDEO SPONSORED BY COULEUR CARAMEL IRELAND

This week I’m chatting to stylist, blogger and broadcaster Holly White whose warm smile simply lights up a room and when we bumped into each other last week she was beaming and I’m not surprised as 2016 as new as it is has already been a huge year for Holly. She got engaged to the love of her life and has also started her exciting new role as fashion contributor to UTV Ireland’s prime time show ‘The Pulse’ Holly radiates health and wellness so lets see how she does it….

Holly White, alison canavan, wellness wednesday, lifestyle quiz, celebrity interviews, health and wellness, positive living, stylist holly white, blogger holly white

How would you describe your lifestyle?

My lifestyle is quite healthy over all. My work is a combination of pressure and creativity but I do really love it so I think that makes it all worthwhile and keeps me motivated through the stressful times.

What’s your favorite food? Naughty or nice.

Raw chocolate is high up on the list. I make my own or else there are some great ranges in health food stores

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

Exercise has become really important to me since starting to train with John Belton and his team at Number 17 Personal training. Having a trainer forces me to turn up even when I don’t want to and I genuinely know it reduces stress and irritation.

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

I feel this is a work in progress. Some days become busier and there are deadlines and I can’t always push things back. I find I just need to go with things when it’s busy as not replying promptly to emails makes me more anxious but I always switch off on a Sunday.

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

I have the Headspace app and I sporadically use it. I always feel the benefit when I get into the habit of it. 

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

I really believe in visualization and always before filming run through the script in my mind and how I want to feel after filming or at the end of a project. I find my goals are more about how I want to feel, rather than what I specifically want to achieve. 

 How do you unwind after a busy day?

Ideally I would go for a walk and switch off but more likely I lie on the couch and watch Kardashians. Playing with or grooming my two cats Tom and Will is also very soothing!

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

I love baking – anything from Deliciously Ella or Susan Jane white that’s gluten and dairy free. I’ll try to fit in a spin class on a Saturday, catch up with friends and on a Sunday maybe go for brunch, have a glass of wine and possibly shoot a blog post.

What’s your top health tip for our readers?

Exercise is the cheapest form of therapy and become educated about your food and the connection between how you feel and what you eat.

Finish the sentence – Being complete for me means…

feeling content with who and where you are, and the people around you.

FOLLOW HOLLY ON:

TWITTER

HOLLYS WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

 

This week I’m delighted to be talking to Roz Purcell about her lifestyle and wellness tips. I find Roz hugely inspirational and her brand Natural Born Feeder is growing from strength to strength. She is a really bright light for her generation and a great role model.

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healthy lifestyle

FACT:

So this may come as a surprise to most people but BEING HEALTHY DOES NOT HAVE TO MEAN LIFE WILL BECOME BORING!!!

Believe me this was also my greatest fear after all for years I perceived exercise as hard work and eating healthy food as a boring and a tasteless waste of time. I also thought happiness could be found at a party, when I booked my next big gig or indeed when I became accepted by my peers, so yes very sadly I worried what people thought of me. I searched for years and years for that slippery sucker called happiness but it felt that every time I got near it, well, it disappeared again.

Being healthy was the last thing on my mind as i never really thought that being healthy meant that much. Now I realise that I really didn’t value myself and probably didn’t feel like I deserved to be healthy and happy.

You see being happy is not something you can buy, a place you can travel too or indeed a company you can be employed by! It’s inside of us all already but we need to mind it and nourish it with a good lifestyle and good life choices.

The way I see it is that for years I worked hard at partying and sabotaging things for myself and the end result was depression and anxiety but now I spend time and work hard at being the best I can be and the reward for all this hard work is vitality, energy, contentment and excitement every day for what’s coming next!

Being healthy is the single greatest gift I have ever given myself. But my advice is that small changes make a big difference so don’t try to overhaul your lifestyle overnight.

Here are some great starting points:

1. Find an exercise you actually like

2. Drink more water and start each day with lemon water

3. Get enough sleep!!

4. Be grateful – write down 5 things each day you are grateful for.

5. Nourish your body with fresh foods – every thing you eat becomes a part of who you are!!

Start simple and build from there. Feeling good feels so good that it is definitely something I want to hang on to.

So take the first steps and learn to love yourself and in turn you’ll start to love your life. Believe me you won’t regret it!