Daily Skincare Tips For Healthy, Beautiful & Glowing Skin

Everyone wants healthy, beautiful and glowing skin. And we’ve all tried a ton of stuff – from facials, to face packs and stringent skincare regimens. But not everyone gets it right!

And, our skin is a mess. Dark circles after one late night, to dull and flaky skin that is growing lifeless because of stress and fatigue. Pimples, whiteheads, acne, blemishes – there are so many things to worry about. Added to this is the complication of managing your specific skin type – oily, dry, patchy, sensitive, normal or a combination.

What we don’t realise is that skin is the largest organ in the human body. Not to mention a vital organ that acts as the first line of defence protecting us from germs and disease. It is also a sensitive organ that reflects the state of our health, the level of stress in our lives and how happy and fulfilled we feel overall.

Take it from me, skincare is not difficult it is just a misunderstood art! That is why this week’s blog post is for you. Here I uncover skincare techniques that are simple and easy to follow.

I am also announcing my ‘Unpacking Your Skincare’ program that I will be running on the 25th of this month! It is free for whoever is interested to attend. Find more information here.

 

1. Hydrate regularly

Drink plenty of water and fluids, and keep yourself well-hydrated. It is recommended that you drink 2 litres or more of water every day. Smoothies can be hydrating as well as refreshing, especially during the summer months.

Water helps cleanse the skin from within, washing out effects of a late night and rinsing away worry lines caused by stress. Hydrating regularly will keep your skin supple and taut, as well as looking fresh and vitalized.

 

2. Mud face-packs

Using face packs on the skin has multiple good effects – they keep the skin looking youthful and lively, they have a nourishing effect on the skin, and they can keep the skin clean removing blemishes and marks.

Create your own face packs using natural ingredients such as berries, papaya, and/or cucumber. Mud packs can be soothing too. Wash off using rose water for that special effect. Try on new face-packs once every week and note the ingredients that work best for your skin type.

 

3. Good food for good skin

Good, healthy, gluten-free, organic, raw and nutritious food can go a long way in keeping your skin glowing. Choose foods high on the vitamins and avoid the sugary, packaged and processed foods.

Try water-rich fruits such as cucumber, orange, watermelon, and coconut; green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and rocket; and, dried seeds and nuts such as almonds, brazil nuts and walnuts.

 

4. All-natural exfoliants

Gently scrubbing and exfoliating your skin is important. This helps remove the dead skin, reduces blemishes and acne and keeps pimples from appearing. Moisturizing your skin is equally essential.

Use all natural exfoliants such as crushed walnuts and berries. Lentils soaked overnight can be crushed into a fine paste and used as an excellent exfoliating agent. Use soft and natural moisturizing creams and cosmetics only.

 

5. Sweat it out

Exercising is a great way to flush those toxins out through sweat, open up your pores and clean your skin through sweat. Exercising regularly keeps the skin looking youthful, taut and supple. As skin truly mirrors the state of your health, a healthy well-toned body will have healthy glowing skin.

Remember to engage all aspects of your health while exercising – your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Combine exercises that work each aspect such as a brisk walk for your body, meditation for your mind and spirit, and dancing or aerobics with a partner or friend for your emotional wellbeing.

 

6. Beauty sleep

Remember to get a proper shut-eye. The body works on itself taking the time to regenerate and rejuvenate while you sleep. This means the right amount of sleep can help your skin.

A good night’s sleep is a must. Keep your phone switched off or on do not disturb mode as you rest. Ensure that your mattress is firm and comfortable, and you have good sleeping gear. And, if you do get a chance catching up on that afternoon siesta every once in a while, that will do you some good too.

 

7. Say no to toxins

And finally, say no to toxins – alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, caffeine and drugs. These toxic substances take away the lustre and sheen from your skin and affect your health and wellbeing in the most serious way.

Other substances such as fast food, sugary drinks and processed food may also have a similar deteriorating effect on your health. If you are addicted, talk to a specialist and consider slowly and actively changing your behaviour. I understand giving up a habit can be tough, but there are healthy alternatives, good remedies and helpful advice available that can make a difference.

7 Habits That Will Freshen Up Your Morning Routine!

Not all of us are morning people, but even those of us who dislike mornings love our morning routines. From the first cuppa to a calming bath, morning routines are simple pleasures that help us recharge, reconnect and pace ourselves for the big new day.

Benjamin Franklin says “The early morning has gold in its mouth”, a translation of the German proverb “Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund”. And, I can’t agree more.

Mornings are brimming with promise, so full of potential. And we can use our morning routines to channel all this positivity and help it flourish in our lives.

We can cultivate it. And, it will nurture us.

There are many benefits to morning routines that loyalists will tell you. Even the most basic morning routine can go a long way in ensuring that you cruise through tough days. Happy and successful people often have powerful morning routines. Effective people have morning routines they fall back on.

Here are a few advantages you will discover:

  • Boosts your immunity and enhances positivity
  • Improves digestive function and health
  • Helps you maintain and manage your weight
  • Reduces insomnia and promotes better sleep
  • Improves stamina and sexual performance
  • Decreases stress levels and improves mood
  • Reduces fatigue, pain and inflammation
  • Enhances concentration, attention and retention
  • Boosts creativity, spontaneity and productivity
  • Has a positive effect on the health of your skin, hair and eyes

This is why in this week’s blog post I discuss 7 habits that can freshen up your mornings and keep you going in the face of all odds. Add these to your routine and experience the difference.

 

1. Start with a positive thought

Experts say that the best time to wake up is nice and early between 4 to 6 AM. Take a moment to orient yourself as you wake up. Think of a positive thought to guide you, and close your eyes to repeat it to yourself until it is fully absorbed. You are now ready to begin your day!

 

2. A glass of warm water or green tea

Select a tall glass for warm water and drink it on an empty stomach. Alternatively, you can also drink a cup of green tea. The antioxidants from green tea help boost your immunity. Warm water helps flush your digestive system and keep it strong and healthy.

 

3. Meditation and some exercise

Light exercise, a brisk walk and some breathing exercises can really uplift your mood. Morning meditation can help improve concentration and focus. When you exercise in the morning and do it consistently, it does wonders for your health – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

 

4. A cleansing bath with herbs

Handpick fresh herbs from your garden or from your local farmers market and incorporate it into your bath ritual. Leave bunches of fresh-smelling herbs like sage, neem, basil or lavender in your bathwater. Keep essential oils and bath salts handy.

 

5. On-time and nourishing breakfast

Pre-plan your breakfast in great detail and have it hot and on-time. Include an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables. Use ingredients that are gluten-free, raw, unprocessed and organic as far as possible. And always sit at a table away from distractions and savour your meal.

 

6. Creating a mind map and to-do list

The morning routine can recharge and spark your creativity. Take this time to build on ideas that show some potential. Reflect deeply and create mind maps for your projects. Keep tools handy and be prepared to capture your thoughts. This is also a good time to prepare to-do lists and plan ahead for the day.

 

7. Positive affirmations

Write down a list of positive affirmations that hold the most meaning for you. Repeat these special anecdotes, quotes, phrases and verses. Reading affirmations out aloud while looking at yourself in the mirror can be an effective way of overcoming deep-seated issues and boosting your confidence.

Hi, I am a Health Coach. How can I support you?

The world of healthcare has changed dramatically in the last decade or so. We are moving away from traditional practices and closer to alternative methods that bring us more value and peace.

With our focus changing to everyday health and functional fitness (as opposed to only fighting disease and sickness only when they occur), our go-to people have changed faces too. Our healthcare professionals are now more available, consider our holistic health and wellness, and happily guide us to improve our lifestyle and its related choices.

We are here, when the doctors, physicians, paramedics and nurses cannot be. Before things go wrong. Before you develop those symptoms. As your body ages and you lose your energy and drive. As you work hard to give up on a bad habit or take on a good one. To keep your body, heart and soul thriving.

We have myriad skills and deep understanding of people, their nutritional needs, and their psychology.

We mentor you. Guide you. Inspire you. And support you. Through all your health goals.

In this week’s blog post I take a deep-dive into my role as a Health Coach and what it means. My journey and learning, and the unique perspective I bring to the table. And a glimpse into my practice, the many lives I have managed to touch and transform.

Hi, I am a Health Coach. How can I support you?

 

In Sickness and Health

Doctors are heavily tied down with their schedule. It’ll be a surprise if they can give you more than 15-20 minutes of their time. And even in the time they have with you the discussion, most likely, revolves around your current ailments. What you are suffering from. The symptoms you are exhibiting. And what pills you can pop to feel better.

I think this is the primary difference between doctors and Health Coaches. Health Coaches approach wellness in the holistic sense. We look at improving your habits so you sleep better, eat better and live better.

Even if doctors had all the time they are not trained in these areas. They don’t possess the skills needed to develop a long-term plan to keep you healthy and motivated while holding you accountable. Much less give you nutritional guidance. All this is not a part of the med school curriculum.

Of course, you go to a doctor when you feel unwell and need medical intervention. We don’t claim to substitute doctors. But chances are that with the right guidance, balanced diet, proper supplements, and good exercise you won’t frequent the doctor as much.

 

Medicine. Medical. Medicinal. Bah Humbug.

Ever get thrown off by medical jargon? Or, get referred to ‘specialist’ after ‘specialist’ after ‘specialist’? Makes you wonder if what you have is something off-the-charts special doesn’t it?! This can be highly distressing.

While doctors train hard to specialize, they are often clueless about areas outside their specialty. This is the reason your case lands in multiple hands with several doctors trying their own approach on you. Until you are left feeling like a guinea pig in a nerve-wracking experiment!

There is also very little thought given to the drugs you are ingesting. The (some very long term and notorious) side effects they may cause. How strong they are and the toxicity build-up they may create.

Enter Health Coaching.

We understand that your health is about you. The choices you make. And the decisions are yours.

While we take the time to explain everything and lay it out – plain and simple – for you, we don’t assume control of your life.  And the pills we recommend are just natural, organic and good supplements that help you. Nothing toxic or in-the-least-bit harmful.

We listen to you as you make your way. We are the sound of reason. We are your caregivers and a helping hand.

 

To Health & Calm

There is a gaping hole in our healthcare system. And my own personal health journey has a lot to do with overcoming it.

After facing the frustration of a failing system – Little personal attention. Deteriorating gut health. No scope for alternative medicine or therapy. Poor results even after pouring in so much money. – I was led to believe there is a better way. And with Health Coaching I found it!

My practice is a testament to all those years of pain and effort.

The personal experience has taught me to trust my own learning and help others who are on a similar journey.

In the past years, I have helped my clients achieve their health goals through lifestyle and subtle behavioural modifications – anywhere from losing weight to improving nutrition and gaining energy. My back-to-basics approach focuses on wholesome living, destressing and building awareness. Everything that brings back health and vitality to you!

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.

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.

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!

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!

Cacao & Cocoa: Uncover the Difference!

Cacao versus cocoa? Is there any difference really? Or, is it just two ways of saying the same thing? I bet all of us who’ve gone through the ingredients listed on our favourite chocolate bars, have scratched their heads for a while before dismissing the question altogether. Fortunately, I have the answer, and it is tied to the nutritional value of what you’re consuming and how it impacts your health.

If what I just said makes you wonder why you didn’t find out earlier, it’s not too late. In this blog post, I uncover the fascinating differences between Cacao and Cocoa, and what is good to eat!

 

Where does the difference lie?

The Theobroma Cacao tree is the source of all things chocolate, and that includes Cacao as well Cocoa. The fruits on the tree, or the seed pods, contain the cacao beans. Raw beans taste bitter, and (in the very least) are fermented and dried before being available to chocolate makers.

In this minimally-processed state, the beans are called Cacao. Cacao may even be lightly roasted, but when beans are processed further and roasted on high-heat they begin to be called Cocoa. The distinction may be thin, but there is a major loss of nutritional value when beans are roasted at high temperatures.

Here are the process steps in brief:

  1. Fermentation: Beans are allowed to ferment for a few days in cool dark storage facilities inside covered bins. This process allows heightening the chocolatey flavour, texture and aroma.
  2. Drying: The fermented beans are then dried for a few days. Then they are sorted to be processed further or to be used as such in foods.
  3. Roasting: The fermented and dried beans may then be roasted. Heat separates the fatty part of the bean from the rest. This process enhances the flavour further and gives the beans slight sweetness.
  4. Crushing and Grinding: The roasted beans are crushed, ground and turned into a fine liquorous

 

So, is Cacao better?

Purely based on how close Cacao is to the raw state (minimally-processed state) you may say that Cacao is indeed better than Cocoa. Healthwise, it is bursting with antioxidants, essential trace minerals, and flavonoids. It is low GI food that helps you control and regulate your blood sugar. And it even boosts and enhances your brain’s cognitive function. Cacao beans are abundant in minerals such as – magnesium, selenium, chromium, potassium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese. In fact, they are the richest natural source of magnesium around.

Cocoa has different health benefits to Cacao, and not all goodness is lost in the high-heat roasting process (depending on processing technique). For example, good quality Cocoa will have quite a few minerals and a decent level of antioxidants. While purchasing Cocoa, consider the organic variety. When used in cooking, Cocoa may be a more suitable ingredient as it is sweeter and requires fewer tweaks to meet your taste.

Use Cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips and Cacao powder instead of chocolate powder. Although, you should know that Cacao can be more expensive than Cocoa, and not as widely available too. This means that if the options are slim good quality organic Cocoa can be a handy substitute. It is definitely better than store-bought chocolate!

From nibs, chips, butter, powder, to chocolate bars, Cacao/Cocoa is available in many delectable forms. Generally, the darker the chocolate is, the higher the Cacao content is, making it healthier and more nutritious. Sometimes manufacturers and marketers use the terms loosely and it is better to be aware while making a choice. At other times, quality and where the ingredients are sourced from may dictate why you would pick one product over the other.

 

Why must you consider the dairy-free options?

Dairy may be the single most critical issue with the Cacao or Cocoa you’ve been consuming! Dairy in chocolate effects the way nutrients are absorbed by the body. It may be potent enough to block the consumption of essential phytonutrients and flavonoids.

Store-bought chocolate products may also contain powdered milk as a ‘filler’, and you must read the labels carefully and diligently before picking the right product. Pick dairy-free chocolate! It may be more expensive than the other options, but it is definitely the healthier option to consider.

 

Who doesn’t love chocolate? It is hard to resist its temptation. But remember, chocolate works best as an occasional indulgence! And if you choose wisely between Cacao, Cocoa and chocolate, weighing the pros and cons, and most importantly balancing your choices wisely, it can be a healthy indulgence you can savour!

Whole Fruit Vs. Fruit Juice: Making A Healthy Choice

Fruit juice seems to be a growing fad popular with everyone. People frequently consider drinking fruit juice as a healthy habit! We see juice bars cropping up at every corner and we see them crowded-full, teeming with people from all walks of life enjoying a beverage. This is a worrying symptom of a larger problem. It is easy to over-consume sugar-rich and calorie-laden juice. And if we don’t watch out, soon we’ll all suffer from diabetes, heart conditions, and eventually obesity too.

Let me reiterate – Fruit Juice is not the same as fruit. Not even close.

Fruit juice packs a significant number of fruit sugars, and unlike whole fruit, it doesn’t have the same fibrous or nutritional content. We may have to look closely, through the sheen of the marketing slogans that declare fruit juice to be beyond reproach – healthy and nutritious! And we may have to do our research. But once we have uncovered how poorly fruit juice truly compares to whole fruit, there should be no going back!

 

What makes fruit juice less effective?

When whole fruit is pounded, blended and strained into juice, its nutrition profile changes. Consider the following ways in which fruit juice is less effective on our health:

  1. Whole fruit is a whole package that contains a bit of everything. When we juice the fruit, we rid it of essential fibre and roughage. Fibre adds to the bulk, improves digestion and keeps us feeling full and satiated. Without the fibre, we are only consuming the sugar-rich juice.
  2. Whole fruits contain powerful molecules called flavonoids that boost immunity and promote health. These molecules are found in the skin and pulp of the fruit. Some of these molecules are lost when the fruit is juiced.
  3. Whole fruits also contain trace minerals and vitamins. 10% of these minerals and vitamins are lost when the fruit is processed into juice.
  4. In the case of fruit juice, the sugars (fructose and sucrose) are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. This causes an instant spike in the blood sugar levels, similar to that caused by soft drinks and colas.
  5. 100% natural fruit juice contains about 10-11% sugar (natural fruit sugar). This is a high amount of sugar packed in a glassful of juice.
  6. Fruit juice can impact your health adversely, especially if you are trying to control your weight, manage diabetes or beat obesity.
  7. Fruit juices available in the market may contain additives, preservatives, taste enhancers, chemicals and added sugars. Even the more expensive juices are stored in oxygen-depleted tanks for over a year before they are packaged. The loss of taste from the oxygen depletion process is compensated for by adding ‘flavour packs’ to the juice. Compare that with a piece of fresh fruit. Even though the fruit may not be organically grown, it still contains fewer harmful substances than processed and packaged juice.

 

What are Australians choosing: whole fruit or fruit juice?

The question demands our attention! Studies show that while 60% of Australians eat some fruit, only 54% eat enough to meet the recommended limit of two serves a day. The statistic changes drastically when we consider fruit juice:

  • Over 83% of people drink fruit juice at least once a week.
  • Around 34% of consumers are concerned about the amount of sugar in fruit juices, but a striking 76% believe juice is healthy.

 

When is juice good?

Convenience in terms of packaging and year-round availability make juice a good option sometimes. Especially during hot summer months, when juice may help beat the heat with rapid rehydration. Juice is also effective during specific circumstances, when you are sick and recovering, when you are suffering from certain deficiencies and when it is advised and recommended by a healthcare professional.  People often get a variety in their fruit intake through juices than they would otherwise get by eating those many whole fruits!

Also, vegetable and fruit combination juices and smoothies are a whole lot healthier than plain fruit juice. And fresh fruit juice that is squeezed at home is definitely better than a packaged juice box from the store.

 

Bottom line?

It is all too easy to give in to the divine flavours of fruit juices, and over-consume. But it is wise to remember, that they won’t satiate, don’t pack the same nutrition and are calorie-rich. The natural sugars in fruit juices make their effect on the human body comparable to that of soft fizzy drinks. So, at best sip with caution. And if you can, swap it instead – with a piece of fruit and peace of mind!

Meet the Supergrain of the Health-foods Arena: Quinoa

The Incas believed Quinoa to possess magical herbal qualities. They even deemed it sacred, calling it the “mother of all grains”. Fast forward to the current age, and what has always been a popular South American diet has captured the world’s attention today as the superfood of our time! And the trend is quickly catching on.

There are no surprises here though. Quinoa is packed with nutrition! It is a protein-rich food and one of the rare plant-based foods to contain all 9 essential amino acids. It is bursting with nutrients – fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, phosphorous, and potassium (to name a few). What is more?! It is also naturally gluten-free!

No wonder supermarkets and stores worldwide are vying to store this fabulous grain, and it is practically available everywhere. Health enthusiasts who’ve adopted Quinoa into their diet are eager to vouch for the goodness and health benefits.

I am sure that is enough to get you excited?! If not, this blog post will definitely turn you around! No matter where you are in your health journey and what your health goals are, Quinoa is good for you. If you’ve always wanted to give Quinoa a try, but have hesitated, here’s your chance to take the refreshing plunge!

 

Not a Cereal Grain. And, Did I Say Gluten-free?

Quinoa is a grain crop, but technically it isn’t a cereal grain. It is rather a seed, that is prepared and eaten quite like a grain. This means it is naturally gluten-free. Additionally, most varieties of Quinoa in the market are organic and non-GMO.

Quinoa is great for people with gluten-intolerance. For these people, it can replace bread and pasta as a staple food. It is nourishing and filling and is a healthy alternative to processed gluten-free foods.

 

Antioxidants to Fight Toxicity

Quinoa is known to be abundant in quercetin and kaempferol, the two vital plant-based flavonoids. These two important molecules have several health benefits. And studies show that they have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antioxidant properties. Sprouting Quinoa may enhance their inherent antioxidant qualities even further.

The antioxidants help flush out harmful free radicals and toxins from the body and reduce the toxin build-up. They keep the skin looking young and reduce the effects of ageing.

 

Loves Your Gut. And, Your Gut Loves It Back

Quinoa has a large amount of fibre content – about 10-16gms fibre per 100gms. This quantity is much higher than what most grains have!

The fibre in Quinoa can help you feel satiated and full earlier and for longer. It can also help in controlling and managing your weight as well as your blood sugar levels. The gut flora feed on the fibrous content to create a prebiotic effect and boost immunity.

 

Low Low Low GI Food

GI or Glycaemic Index is a measure of how quickly the food raises your blood sugar levels when consumed. Quinoa is a low GI food, with a GI of 53. This means that consuming this food does not lead to any rise in the blood sugar level.

Incorporating low GI foods in your diet can keep you unquestioningly fit, healthy and glowing. And away from contacting dangerous health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, obesity and even cancer.

 

Quinoa is good for health! It is protein rich and bursting-full of nutrients. Vegetarians and Vegans have a great protein booster and ally in Quinoa. It is versatile, tasty and easy to prepare. So much so that even NASA has caught on – Considering Quinoa as a healthy, quick and hassle-free space-time meal!