Plant-Based Diets & Mood Disorders

We are closing-in into Christmas, and the new year shortly afterwards. All this time will fly by rather quickly. Before we know it, we will be there and ready – clinking glasses and making toasts to a year gone by!

So, I thought I’d make way for a serious topic, one that requires your attention right before you’re catapulted into merrymaking, holiday planning and enjoying with friends and family. I urge you to keep what I am saying in mind. And maybe even incorporate it as a resolution for the next year.

We women ignore so much about our health. We do absolutely nothing unless we’re truly suffering from something very drastic! Coughs & colds and minor depression are all but usual, and we carry on without a worry. Even insomnia, sleeplessness or some form of sleep disorder is quite common. We smile through all that pain, bearing our duties and responsibilities with grace and sheer willpower.

Unfortunately, many of these small issues we experience collect and continue to take a toll. They accumulate and strike when we are most susceptible. They inhibit our proper functioning and we grow frustrated as we fail task after task. We may blame our spouses, our jobs, or even our societies, but the fact of the matter is – it is our inadequate, unhealthy and innutritious food/diet that is causing this catastrophic failure!

I am recommending a switch to a plant-based whole-food diet. And in this week’s blog post I will explain why?

 

Whole Food Goodness

Vegetables, fruits and nuts – are bursting with polyphenols. These natural plant-based molecules build our immunity and defend us against pathogens. They have been known to protect against cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases.

Polyphenols such as curcumin and resveratrol have amazing biological effects, especially on brain function. Plus, plant-based foods contain essential fatty acids such as omega-3 that act as mood stabilizers. They are also rich in bioflavonoids, dietary fibre and antioxidants – All building blocks of good (mental) health.

 

The Gut-Brain Connection

Brain health depends on gut health. There is a clear interlinkage.

The human gut is lined with bacteria called the ‘gut flora’. These tiny microbes reside in the gut feeding on fibre in the food. They help prevent diseases and boost our immunity. A strong and healthy gut generates a feeling of satisfaction, confidence and safety. Similarly, bad microbes can infect our gut and cause inflammation. Gut inflammation is known to enhance aggressive and violent behaviours.

Animal-based foods such as meat, fish and eggs contain a pro-inflammatory mediator called arachidonic acid, which causes gut inflammation. It accumulates over a period of time and causes gut inflammation. Bad food can also encourage the growth of bad microbes and inflammation in the gut. At the same time, gut-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free organic plant-based foods that feed the good bacteria are sources that can counter inflammation and promote mental health.

 

Beating Inflammation

Inflammation is indicative of our body’s ability to protect itself from infection. Acute inflammation occurs when the body is in fight-mode and the immune system is hard at work. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can lead to adverse results.

Chronic brain inflammation has been directly linked with developing psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety and depression. By making small changes to our diet and by adding in the nutrients we are lacking, we should be able to see a big reduction in bodily inflammation. Our immune system will function more effectively and we will stay healthier and live longer.

 

Recommended Approach

For your plant-based diet to be effective it needs to be combined with a few good practices. Here are the broad pointers.

  • Start on a plant-based diet with a high nutrition density.
  • Use high-quality (preferably vegan) EPA to protect fatty acids in your diet.
  • Morning light exposure is essential to balancing your serotonin melatonin axis.
  • Spend a few minutes exercising each day.
  • Meditation, yoga or other calming exercises are a must every day.

If you are already on pharmaceutical drugs or therapy, adding these few steps to your schedule can help you alleviate the problem. A diet is not an alternative to therapy. Discuss all changes to your diet and routine to your trusted health coach before proceeding.

Remember, the right foods protect your intelligence. Fuel your creativity. Prevent you from falling sick. Help you succeed in life. And, that is the dream, isn’t it?

In health & calm,
Gurmayll.

Uncovering Your Life’s True Purpose

There is something deeply intriguing about these questions – Why are we born? Who we truly are inside? And, what is our life’s purpose? We have jostled with them since time immemorial. Not just us, some of the greatest minds of our times (and the times before ours) have pursued them deliberately and with great passion.

When we think about the questions emphatically, they seem rather philosophical. But who has the time to spend debating philosophical questions when we are crowded by some very real and immediate problems in the course of our busy lives? We shrug. We move on.

In truth, there is a clear line dividing people who understand the answers to these very questions and those who don’t. People who are happy and satisfied having found meaning, and those who appear unmoored and lost without any direction. The demarcation is distinct and we must choose on which side of the line we will continue standing. To which group we will belong.

Mark Twain said – “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Uncovering the hidden answers to your questions can help you lead a very fulfilling life that is bursting to the brim with happiness and satisfaction. It can disperse all the heavy tension and stress that you have unknowingly accumulated. It can simplify existence. Promote health and wellbeing. And create harmony, filling your life with positivity and beautiful energy.

In this week’s blog post I pose a series of poignant questions. The answers to these questions may reveal aspects of your life’s purpose or its complete truth. Answer them in all honesty. Take your time arriving at your answers. And uncover what you are seeking!  I wish you good luck.

 

1. What do you love doing?

What would you do even if you weren’t paid to do it? What tasks do you love spending your time on, and time flies when you are engaged?

Identify what you love doing first – whether it is working with children, planting in the garden or creating some beautiful art. For some people the answer to this question is straightforward, which is great, for others, it is more complicated.

If you aren’t able to identify what you love doing even after spending considerable time reflecting, I suggest that you begin by picking up some new activities and trying your hand at them. Give yourself a chance to explore and learn new skills. And widen your horizons before you commit. You won’t know what you love doing for sure before you’ve tried it and enjoyed it in earnest!

 

2. What inspires you?

What do you dream about? What are your passions and desires? What keeps you engaged and happy even while you are doing boring or mundane tasks?

The source of inspiration can be locked within or can be external to you. Tapping into the source of inspiration is essential to staying motivated and on track the pathway to self-discovery.

To unravel what inspires you, take a deep hard look at all aspects of your life. It can be a person or people. It can be a place or taking a journey. It can be books, art or games. It can be architecture. It can be engineering. It can be a couple of things or a number of things combined. It can be one thing very simply. Find your source of inspiration and articulate it to yourself.

 

3. What are the hurdles in your path?

Are you a confident person who believes in yourself and your abilities? Do you fear you’ll never be good enough? Are you standing in your own way?

Discover what your hurdles are. What obstacles deter you from achieving your goals and desires. It can be a complicated relationship with a skewed power-dynamic and a controlling partner. It can be an unfair work environment. Or, it can very well be you thinking you are not deserving of the success or happiness that comes with self-empowerment.

Whether they are self-created or circumstantial, mental blocks or issues with self-belief, enlist all hurdles. Try to arrive at the root of all issues by being astute and detail-oriented. Do not dismiss behaviours or conditions. If they affect you in the very least, you list them!

 

4. How can you overcome obstacles?

Have you created obstacles to stay within your comfort zone? Are your challenges unmoving, stubborn and obstinate? Can you overcome hurdles without creating more stress for yourself?

Overcoming hurdles requires being highly-deft and creative with your thinking. If it is an issue with unchanging mindsets or complex relationships, try an assortment of skills such as communication, assertion and give & take to work out the problem. If the issue is more circumstantial, try changing your approach. In the end, there are a variety of ways you can overcome your obstacles.

 

5. How can you align dissimilar or conflicting goals?

Do you have two or more goals that are conflicting? Are your partner’s goals and ideas very dissimilar to yours? What will make your life more harmonious and in sync?

Aligning dissimilar goals is very similar to overcoming obstacles. You need creativity, positivity and an ability to take in the big picture.

An example of this can be when your goal is to travel and explore new destinations, while also keeping a steady job and earning sufficiently. These two seemingly dyssynchronous goals can come together quite nicely when you think of working online, earning your living working on small contracts and then spending (economically) on your travel.

Serving Up a Delectable Christmas Meal Like No One Imagined!

Who doesn’t love the Christmas season?! Mirth and joy are in the air with just a hint of nostalgia for the passing year. Families and friends are gathering, and taking vacations together. There are things to look forward to – planning parties, trips and get-togethers! There are Christmas carols being sung, Christmas trees being decorated and there is a greeting on everyone’s lips. Even the most severe amongst us find a cheery disposition, if only just for the season!

But as soon as we think of all the cooking and catering we have to do…the endless shopping…the growing shopping lists…the chores…the cleaning and organizing…we feel a bit unhinged. With the passing days, the pressure mounts and we feel panicked, cornered and utterly without a clue. We are bound to! There is just so much happening!!

I know exactly how you feel. After all, I have been there myself.

In my post this week I discuss some easy and decidedly delectable meal choices that can spice-up your celebrations. They are simple and can be put together in a jiffy. No need to go scouting to the mall for impossible ingredients and scratch your brain for last-minute ideas…here’s everything you will need. And since I’ve thought of it, I’ve made it super healthy too. Give it a go.

 

1) Christmas Tea Brew

Add a dash of cinnamon or a hint of cardamom to your tea for a magical Christmassy flavour. Just buy the preferred spice and add it as you brew your tea, or mix the spice with your tea leaves and store away in advance! Either way, expect to hear some fantastic compliments on the refreshing drink!

 

2) Spicy Nuts

Nuts make for great snacks! Chop up some onions, tomatoes, capsicums and cucumbers. Add in an assortment of roasted nuts (think variety) and mix in a large bowl. Try a pinch of curry powder and some chilly. Squeeze a little lime. Garnish with sprigs of fresh coriander. These nuts are zingy but, oh, so much fun!

 

3) Organic Wine

While stocking up on your wine go for the local organic variety. Make your wine selection an adventure, who knows you may land on something incredible. The general rule of thumb is to buy a small, largely unknown and locally brewed brand of wine in the range of $15-20. These wines offer you the most value for money. And stay away from big brands. Remember, red wines are a healthier choice.

 

4) Figs with goat cheese

Fruits can be especially nourishing and stimulating on the palate. Explore their sweet and sour flavours. Combine with cheese or quinoa crackers. Or simply slice them up. Be sure to try some of the seasonal fare, like figs that work so well with goat cheese! Umm yum.

 

5) Cacao desserts

Replace chocolate chips with cacao nibs in your cakes and cookies. Sprinkle cacao powder on your dessert as you serve it. There is no doubt about it – cacao is better than cocoa in all possible ways. To incorporate cacao, just hop online and find a cacao recipe that works for you. Then sit back and relax as your loved ones enjoy a healthy dessert.

 

6) Homemade apple pie

There is no beating the satisfaction of a homemade apple pie (or crumble). It will fill your kitchen with an enticing aroma that is also conveniently so Christmassy! Use organic apples sourced from your local farmers market. Serve with fresh cream. It is bound to hit the spot!

 

7) Antipasto platter

How sensational is this idea?! An antipasto platter is all about picking what you love and serving it up on a platter – peasant style! Your choices can be Mediterranean and summery – with marinated olives, feta, dried apricots, red peppers, walnuts and pita bread, or they can be more deli style – with sun-dried tomatoes, asiago cheese, caramelized onions, grilled halloumi, mizuna lettuce, gourmet pears and lavash bread. You can mix and match with an absolute abandon.

 

8) Roasted eggplant salad

Roasted eggplant can be tasty and filling unlike anything else. Serve it as a salad with an olive oil dressing. Or roast your eggplant with a stuffing of your choice.  There are just so many ways to enjoy an eggplant! This one is my favourite – Peel the roasted eggplant and mash into a bowl. Add chopped onions, dollops of pot-set yogurt and salt to taste. Allow it to sit in your fridge before serving.

 

9) Homebrewed beer

Serving your guests your own creation is surely satisfying. And nothing keeps the connection and bond growing like homebrewed beer. If you plan in advance, you may be able to create some light and smooth craft beers to share on the big day!

 

10) Stuffed capsicum

This is another fantastic idea. Marinate and stuff your capsicum whole with cottage cheese and chilli. Grill it lightly on a barbeque for an exotic charred flavour. Enjoy as a filling side or a scrumptious main dish.

Awakening To Calm, Wellbeing & Inner Peace

What does inner peace mean to you? I have asked myself this question over and over again. Through endless circumstances – good or bad. Surprisingly, the answer has seldom been motivated by my circumstances. It has rather been about doing simple things…constructive things…daily, weekly, monthly or yearly… at my own pace and in my own time. Eroding barriers. Removing hesitation. Reflecting deeply. And bringing forth those changes that have enabled my dreams.

I have realized that to be at peace we must be on the path of our choosing. And all our choices must be guided by our soul.

This is especially of consequence as we navigate a world filled with noise, chaos and constant disturbances, where listening to that inner voice is often made difficult. Where obligations and expectations from others bind and constrain us. Where we feel thwarted by the relentless pressure… running out of time, opportunities and options. But by opening up our minds and hearts and tapping into them, by meditating and clearing up the internal channels, and by focusing on our holistic well-being and what’s important for us, we can actually make our search of peace and calm a reality.

It is like a lotus flower blossoming in murky ponds. It is an enriching and moving experience to witness your spirit bloom. Something that is truly rewarding!

In this week’s blog post I discuss just a few things that make achieving inner peace a real possibility. I have taken snippets from my own life experience and from the inspiring lives of others around me. Do try them out as and when you are ready, without rushing yourself or pushing too hard.

 

1. The act of letting go

This is perhaps the hardest thing to do. Letting go means acknowledging that not everything is within our control. That while we work hard and work sincerely, we can’t always dictate the outcome. By acknowledging and accepting this we learn to lift the pressure and ease our lives. We learn to trust that whatever the result, it is for our benefit and for the greatest good.

Practice the act of letting go in your everyday. Make it a reminder and a ritual.

 

2. Learning something new

There is a different kind of satisfaction in picking up new skills. Whether it is making art, craft, music, or even working in the garden, the joy is unbelievable! Oftentimes, it helps clear-up blocked channels within us. Helps us communicate better with ourselves and others. Learning something new is similar to learning something new about ourselves – What holds us back? What makes us distrust our own instincts and passions? What will make us believe in ourselves again?

Pick up a new skill. Learn a new language. Invest in a hobby. You will learn something more, I assure you.

3. Keeping it simple

We get carried away with the pace of this life. We get caught up. And forget our true calling. Our purpose. Keeping it simple is an art in itself. Physically it could start with decluttering of your home, removing the unwanted mess and clearing up space. Mentally and spiritually it could mean looking for ways to uncomplicate things, communicating more clearly and organizing things a little more each day.

Focus on what’s important. What makes you happy. Remember to love yourself. And give yourself the time and space you need.

 

4. Rewarding relationships

Relationships can be a source of great pleasure. Rewarding relationships are those where we are encouraged to be ourselves, where we feel safe and secure, and we can share our innermost feelings without being judged. Building friendships can require a lot of work and commitment, and sometimes a lot of sacrifices and compromises. Remember give and take is natural. Ups and downs are natural too and it is not always smooth sailing.

Cherish relationships that are special. Think of your friendships as young saplings you will water and nurture as they grow into fruit-bearing and shady trees.

 

5. Doing things wholeheartedly

Whether it is at work or at home, whatever you do, do it with complete focus. By putting all your energy into a task, howsoever small or big, you are sure to succeed. And enjoy yourself in the course of doing it. People who do things wholeheartedly are flooded with a feeling of peace.

Draw up your commitments and give them an honest go. You will see that by doing so the universe in-turn rewards you with people who value their commitment to you.

A Stress-free Health-wise Advent Calendar That’s Just For You!

We all dream of holidays to be stress-free, leisurely and idyllic times, before somehow getting wrapped and caught-up in all the chaos, hustle and bustle they bring. We need reminders to take it slow and easy. To have a meaningful holiday true to the spirit of the season!

This got me thinking! What better way to do it than to lay out reminders in an ‘Advent Calendar’ style.  Advent calendars are all about counting down to the big day. And they pack little surprises – a cookie, a chocolate, a mint, a card, a toffee, a joke, a knick-knack, a small gift – for every morning, for 24 mornings, leading to Christmas.

How interesting would it be if we can borrow this idea and create a calendar that is meant especially for us? A calendar that reminds us to keep the focus on important things and not get carried away (or dragged unwittingly)! Like that voice in our head, just way cooler, with notes, jokes and treats just for us!

Here’s how we do it:

 

Draw a sketch

Begin by imagining all the days from December 1st leading to the 25th! Think about all the things you will be doing, and what type of reminders would serve you best.

Do you tend to overcook? Or spend time in the kitchen away from your family and friends? Are you a perfectionist, always cleaning, trimming and endlessly chasing chores? Will you need a reminder to call a special someone who can’t visit? Or book tickets to a concert you enjoy?

Think of everything! And, lay it out on a simple piece of paper. This is your sketch.

 

Fill it in

Now that you know what reminders you need, put them all on colourful pieces of paper (or on white paper using colourful pens). Get creative and have fun. If there are days when you need no reminders what-so-ever, write a silly joke for yourself that will make you smile or opt for an activity such as 15 minutes of meditation!

If you are an energetic person who tends to get overexcited, your reminders should be such that calm and soothe you. And if you are an anxious person who is dreading the holidays, make your reminders about simplicity, faith and belief.

Overall, your notes should uplift you. Give you all the confidence in the world. And, they should be filled with warmth, love and that special kind of attention only you can give yourself!

 

Go shopping

This is the most exciting part of the activity! And I am sure you ladies (and gents) are simply going to love it! It is a bit different from your usual shopping but no less fun, I assure you. Let me explain how.

When you go shopping for your advent calendar, buy small treats that will go with your reminders. For example, if the reminder is to care for yourself, a petite sachet of bath salts or a pretty pair of earrings is a nice buy. Similarly, if the reminder is to take a pause and breathe, a floral incense or a small bottle of perfume can complement that. If you’ve decided to be more conscious of your food choices and stay away from unhealthy sugary treats, buy a single-serve packet of organic quinoa or a jar of herbs and toppings you love.

The idea is to give your little treats some thought and shop for some simple things that will bring you great pleasure.

Now, combine your notes together with your little gifts, and wrap and number them. You can also put them into small gauze or linen bags, depending on their size. Choose a Christmas stocking, a large mason jar or simply lay your calendar out on your counter!

Don’t forget to unwrap, read and use each little gift starting 1st December!

 

As a final thought, creating a calendar for yourself is definitely satisfying, but if you can do gift a calendar to someone you care about. It will make their season a little less stressful and a little bit happier, and they’ll love you for it!

Time to Destress, Declutter & Prep For The Holiday Season

The song says “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, and that season is fast approaching. Yet instead of cheer and excitement, we’re all experiencing dread – of setting up the perfect dinner parties, decorating our homes and cooking heaps of food that is simply delicious!

With too many things piling our plates, we are killing the joy with our tremendous expectations one day at a time. Until eventually, as the season approaches and passes all we will be left feeling is fatigue, disappointment and remorse.

Is there a better way of doing it? Of course. And the good news is that we have the time to pace ourselves and recalibrate our expectations. Make this season about simplicity, de-stressing and decluttering. Take those heavy expectations and throw them out of the window, and bring in simple joys that really mean something to you.

Here are my tips to prep for the holiday season. And ladies I am sure you will really appreciate this!

 

1. Make ‘what you love’ your focus

Make a promise to keep it simple. This means no over the top purchases. No fancy decorations or parties. No stressing over food and what to cook. Instead, I recommend – hire a caterer, ask friends and family to bring something and have a potluck, ask your children and partner to help with everything. And relax and enjoy whatever you are doing!

Many-a-times we sacrifice our real desires for what everyone else wants. Hold on. This year make it about what you really love. Whether it is dressing as Santa or baking cookies or maybe simply having some fun hanging out with your family – what you want counts. Do it!

 

2. A holiday song list can add to the fun

Make a holiday song list for the car and for your home. Listen to cheery songs as you decorate your tree or as you relax in the lounge with a fine glass of wine. Choose soothing, calming hymns, or numbers with a nice tempo, and every type in between. Unwind to the music. Bring back fond memories. And take a moment to pause and savour.

Now, once you’ve realized how much fun music can be, share the joy with others. Make a holiday playlist for your girlfriend. Put a CD in the car for your partner and surprise them. And make a gift of it to a person you know who is really struggling – away from home and family, this season. It’s a gesture that is sure to bring you immense peace!

 

3. Keep gratitude in your heart

This is perhaps the most important consideration to make as your prep for the holidays. Keep gratitude in your heart. Be thankful for the peace, joy and tranquillity your home provides you. For the shelter and the blessings. There is abundance and light everywhere. Cherish it.

Be thankful for your good health and the health and wellness of those around you. If you have health issues, be thankful for your capacity and strength to fight. And for the support of those who stand by you no matter what. Be proud of every little thing you have accomplished for yourself and your family. Don’t let even the smallest opportunity to do good, go. Make the holidays an occasion to truly celebrate your spirit!

 

We all need such reminders, from time to time, to do these things! There is nothing new in what I said. Perhaps, it is all age-old knowledge. But let me urge you to consciously make these considerations and not get swept away by expectations this season. Happy Holidays and Cheers!

 

In health and calm,

Gurmayll

Ways To Make Your Halloween Healthy Without Spooking Away The Fun

Halloween is still pretty much that American holiday, but that shouldn’t stop us from having some fun. The weather is fantastic, a little bit of spring still in the air and a tad of summer that’s coming. What’s not to love?! With pumpkin carving, costumes and parties, and lollies by the truckload!

Not to sound like a buzzkill, or in this case “sugar buzzkill”, all that candy and chocolate can be bad for you (and your kids’ health.) As can all the soda and junk-food you pack in the name of merrymaking. It’s not just the sugar, it’s eating a lot of it at once.

Let’s try a healthy take of Halloween this year without, of course, spooking away the fun. It can still be very entertaining I assure you. Just minus the bad parts! I’ve got some ideas, so, here we go…

Happy Halloween folks!

 

Get Creative

Pumpkin carving, decorating your homes, baking and cooking and designing your costumes– everything needs a lot of creative energy! So, get your creative juices flowing and indulge your imagination.

Working with your hands on some crafts, cooking or even arranging and cleaning, can have a positive effect on your health. Think about using your mind differently and tapping into all that potential.

Bring your kids, family and friends onboard. There is lots to do and it can be a shared project. Working together, crafting or baking or simply installing fairy lights in the yard, smiling, laughing and playing around, every little bit can be satisfying. It can all add to your holiday glow.

 

Include Activities

It is often that we focus so much on food and eating that we leave behind any scope for some physical fun. I wouldn’t blame you if you too got carried away and forgot all about it.

But hey, think about including a treasure hunt that will have everyone on their toes, solving a mystery. Or go trick-or-treating with your kids. This is ideal for some supervised-fun over the merriment, sure, but it is also good exercise for you. Plus, there is always the added incentive of catching up with some of your neighbours.

Activities can make occasions such as Halloween enjoyable. And you can burn off some of the extra calories too!

 

Healthy Treats

Sugar-laden lollies are the flavour of the season. And they are everywhere, on supermarket aisles and on the printed pages of catalogues. It can be hard to resist their temptation, but as moms, we know we absolutely must!

Try home cooked treats instead. The net is full of super-easy and convenient snack recipes. There are some that you can make with celery, oranges and edible paint! What can be bad about that?!

Remember you are trying to control the sugar that you and your kids’ intake this season, but beyond that, what you are really trying to do it to have real fun. This means no damage control afterwards with crash diets, and definitely no feeling regret.

 

Talk To Me

As a Health Coach and as a mother of three beautiful girls I’ve had my fair share of Halloween fun. I know exactly what you are going through – trying to not give in and buy the treats off the shelves, trying to keep the snacking moderated, and trying to make the holiday healthy at best. It can be tough. This is why I’ve put together this blog. To give you the right advice at the right time, when it really counts.

Hope you enjoy your ‘healthy’ Halloween. Don’t beat yourself if you can’t make it healthier, just talk to me. Much love to you and your family!

Fighting Breast Cancer With Tender Love and Care

We’re in the middle of beautiful Pinktober – the month for breast cancer awareness! As men and women come together to comfort survivors, empower women, and talk about the delicate issues of survival, treatment and healing, let’s all show our support and solidarity by wearing a pink ribbon.

There are several factors that lead to a higher risk of women contracting breast cancer. Exposure to environmental toxicity being the primary. It is, however, the stress from our busy lives, the fatigue and burnout we experience, and the compromises we regularly make that lead to slow toxicity build-up in our bodies, and eventually cancer. Who can say we didn’t see it coming?!

We need to take a pause now. Breathe in. And make strong choices to stop the suffering. Beginning with tender love and care, not just for ourselves but women everywhere.

 

Cancer Care for Survivors

Cancer feels like a whirlwind of rising fears. It is so difficult to stay grounded and steady when events and moods spin you out of control. For those of us who suffer from or have survived cancer, there are several phases we go through – From anger and denial to remorse and even guilt.

We begin viewing our lives as if we were strangers looking in. We feel disassociated and disconnected. A tad detached too at times. Many will start rigorous routines, medications and chemo. And beat themselves over the choices they’ve made. But believe it or not, pushing yourself like this will only make things tougher.

What we need to remember is to be kind and gentle with ourselves at all times. Take little steps. Trust that healing will happen when the mind is at peace.

Take care to eat proper meals. If you can’t eat in one sitting, spread your meals and have smaller portions throughout the day. Eat healthy, organic and homemade meals. But if you have to buy food add a side of salad or fresh-fruit to the takeout. Meditate and calm your mind. Exercise. If you can’t go for a run, walk. If you don’t feel like walking, do breathing exercises at home in your garden. Be patient. Give yourself sufficient rest and care. And don’t be too hard on yourself.

Staying positive helps build a stronger frame of mind. If the disease makes you feel vulnerable and unsafe, some simple positive affirmations can help you beat that. Try saying them aloud whenever you feel the need. Creating a positive environment where you nurture and care for yourself can have a lasting effect.

 

Caregivers Remember

We all know at least one woman who has suffered from cancer. The chances are high, as one in eight women get diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and the numbers are rapidly increasing.

As a caregiver, your job is a lot harder than the patient who is actually fighting cancer. We get to see all the changes, the undoing of a person. And if we are not strong, we may break ourselves. In these cases, it is important to focus on the bigger picture. Learn to let go of smaller worries and superficial issues. Look far and deep.

Partner on the healing process. Meditate and exercise together. Eat meals together. Stay positive together. Keep an anchor on your thoughts and don’t sink when the discussions become pessimistic. Work on common goals, and always be patient, kind and loving.

Supporting someone you love through the changes that cancer imposes, is difficult. It may lead you to introspect on your own choices. Whatever your thoughts don’t let them pull you down. Extend the same compassion to yourself, as you do to others you care about. And don’t give up hope.

 

Extending Support

There is something special about October. It reminds us to come together as a community and extend our support to those in dire need. Even if it is through simple gestures, of wearing a pink ribbon or running for charity, or by putting in our heart and soul into making this world a better place.

Don’t miss this chance to donate to the cause: https://nbcf.org.au/donate/

Every bit counts!

Let’s Talk About Vitamin K

For some reason, Vitamin K is the least talked about vitamin. That doesn’t mean it is less vital! From promoting bone and heart health to improving cognitive function, Vitamin K offers a wide range of benefits.

It is also necessary for the clotting of blood. Without Vitamin K, we would have to endure excessive bleeding (and no clotting); that if left unchecked could even lead to a state of internal haemorrhaging!

The vitamin is synthesized in the body (inside the gut), by the friendly gut bacteria. And, it is required only in trace amounts. This is why a deficiency is highly uncommon, but a few conditions may interfere with its production. For example, people who suffer from diabetes or those who consume alcohol may find themselves lacking the required levels of Vitamin K.

Overall, it is crucial to not dismiss its role in our body. It plays an essential and significant role, even though it is required in very minute quantities. In this week’s blog, we cover the basics of Vitamin K – what are the symptoms of a deficiency, who should take supplements and what is the required dosage! Let’s begin!

 

What are the sources?

Vitamin K is a group of compounds – K1 and K2 – that can be obtained from plant or animal-based foods. K1 is largely available through leafy greens and other vegetables, such as – salad greens, kale, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, parsley and cabbage. Avocado, strawberries, beans, kiwifruit are also good sources. While K2 is available through meats, eggs, cheeses and a few fermented products such as – yogurt and kefir.

Vitamin K is also available as a dietary supplement. It is recommended that you talk to a trusted health coach before taking these supplements. Vitamin K is fat soluble. That means that the body stores away excess doses of the vitamin as liver fat. The stored vitamins in the fat can cause toxicity. 

 

What are the symptoms of a deficiency?

Not having enough Vitamin K in your body can have some adverse effects. Here are some symptoms you can look out for:

  • Brittle bones that fracture easily after a minor fall or injury.
  • You bruise more easily and more often than others.
  • You bleed excessively and it takes longer for your blood to clot.
  • For women, your periods are prolonged with heavier bleeding.

If you are experiencing trouble in some or all of the areas mentioned above, I recommend that you talk to a health coach. There are specialized tests available today that can determine the Vitamin K levels in your body.

Who should take supplements?

A few people may be advised to take Vitamin K supplements without a need for testing. For example, people who use blood-thinning medications, such as Warfarin or Coumadin, should take Vitamin K supplements to counter the effect of the drugs.

Similarly, people who suffer from digestive tract dysfunctions such as Crohn’s disease or Celiac Disease, diabetics and people with liver-related ailments – often require Vitamin K supplements to remedy their lack. Also, people who consume alcohol may require vitamin supplements.

In these cases, the body’s ability to produce the vitamin is impaired. And so, altering a diet may not be an effective pathway at all.

 

What is the required dosage?

This is the recommended dosage for Vitamin K. The chart is meant to only serve as a guideline. It is important that you follow the advice of your health coach and not exceed the dosage prescribed by them in any case.

  • Girls (Ages: 14-18) – 75 mcg/day
  • Women (Ages: 19 & 19+) – 90 mcg/day
  • Boys (Ages: 14-18) – 75 mcg/day
  • Men (Ages: 19 & 19+) – 120 mcg/day

Digestive Enzymes And Why You Need Them?

I am sure we’ve all heard of Digestive Enzymes and/or seen them line the aisles of our local supermarkets. We may even know that they are good for us and that (exaggerated claims aside) they aid us in our digestive processes.

It’s only when deciding their benefits that apply to our specific case? Whether we really need them? And, if we should consider taking them? – that the confusion arises.

After all these questions do warrant our most serious consideration. Overloading our systems with excessive Digestive Enzymes can be as harmful as not taking them at all. And, taking low-quality supplements can create permanent imbalances in our nutritional intake.

So, what is required is a step-by-step understanding of the role Digestive Enzymes play on our health. Particularly, if we suffer from bloating, flatulence, inflammation, chronic gut ailments, disorders of the colon, constipation, diabetes and/or pancreatic disorders. Or even heightened stress. Then their role becomes more prominent, and we need to bolster and support them.

No matter what your ‘Digestive Enzyme’ status is, in this week’s article I have all the answers to help you chart an appropriate response. And, to take that step towards better digestive health.

 

Knowing Your Body

Paying attention and reading the subtle signs our body gives us is an important first step in resolving any issue. For example, if we suffer from food allergies, low-grade inflammation or chronic stress, these conditions could inhibit the body’s enzyme function or production. Timely diagnosis and corrective action can fix the problem, but if you continue to experience these conditions regularly you may permanently hamper your digestive processes.

Ageing also causes the bodily Digestive Enzymes to deplete, and you may require to gently alter your diet to be more suited for your delicate constitution. And you may have to consider supplementing your diet for improved results.

You can easily identify deficiencies – analysing the quality of your sleep at night, how active or sluggish you feel during the day, whether you digest food well or have issues if you experience any pain or discomfort, and how calm and at-ease you feel. There are many other signs, but begin by tuning into your body and understanding its nature!

 

The Role of Digestive Enzymes

The role of our digestive function is to absorb the nutrients from food and make them available for our body’s use. Food is primarily broken down into amino acids – from proteins, simple sugars – from carbohydrates, and fatty acids – from fats. And vitamins, minerals and a variety of other essential compounds are assimilated. Digestive Enzymes facilitate this breakdown.

Digestive Enzymes are produced by the pancreas, small intestine, salivary glands and the stomach. Without them, we can’t process our food, derive nutrition from it and have energy for our everyday functions.

 

Correcting a Deficiency

Digestive Enzymes occur naturally in whole foods – fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains. So, fixing our diet to include a variety of fresh, organic and in-season produce, and moving away from processed and refined foods, can only be a good thing.

However, there are other conditions to consider. For example,

  • Your sensitivity to gluten. Gluten in foods can further aggravate a bad situation.
  • Your tolerance to dairy. Dairy intolerance and allergy can render your digestive processes ineffective.
  • Treating and managing your existing health conditions. This is important while restoring digestive
  • Preservatives and additives in foods. Additives are often added as fillers to improve and enhance the taste of food. These can make your condition worse.
  • Your lifestyle. If your lifestyle is chaotic and stressful, no amount of healthy eating will change the outcomes.
  • Enjoying your meals. Eating healthy is one thing, and eating well is quite another. Take the time to enjoy your meals without any distraction. Do not cram meals with work or eat on the go.
  • Consider supplements. Healthy dietary practices need the support of supplements to be fully effective.

 

Consulting a Health Coach

After implementing healthy dietary practices and taking Digestive Enzyme supplements, you will experience a world of a difference! Your digestion will improve and so will your metabolism. However, it is always best to consider taking on a trusted Health Coach as a guide on your journey.

Taking supplements and following a diet, requires constant attention to your health and your bodily signs. When to take the supplements? How much to take? Where do I buy good supplements from? Are supplements really helping me?

As a Health Coach, I am qualified to advise you on the tests and treatments that you need. Your holistic health and wellness are paramount. So, we’ll discuss your health concerns and uncover hidden deficiencies. We will consider everything that makes you healthy and happy, just so the meals you eat and the foods you enjoy can truly nourish you!