Most of us know that poor sleep impacts our brain function, mood, and energy levels. Did you also know that poor sleep can lead to weight gain and other health issues? Sleep deprivation increases your appetite, impairs glucose metabolism and increases insulin production, and increases cortisol levels, all of which can lead to weight gain. Tiredness also decreases our ability to exert self-control and make healthy food choices.
If you’re trying to improve your health, a great place to start is by improving your sleep. Here are some of my top tips to improve your sleep:
Consistency: Keep a relatively consistent bedtime and wake time. Staying up late and sleeping in on weekends can disrupt your routine during the week
Relaxation/routine: Develop a bedtime routine that is relaxing and familiar. Avoid using any technology for at least an hour before you go to bed
Reserve your bedroom for sleep: Using your bedroom as an office, living room, or study is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. Banish television, computers, phones and other distractions, reserving your bedroom for sleep and intimacy only.
Make your bedroom a sanctuary: Eliminate clutter and chaos from your bedroom, so that the space is relaxing and restful.
Stimulants: Eliminate stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, especially later in the day
Alcohol: Although alcohol can make you feel drowsy and help you go to sleep, once you fall asleep, alcohol disturbs sleep patterns and often reduces sleep quality. Avoid alcohol completely if possible, or at least limit your consumption (in small quantities) to the early part of the evening
Fullness: Eating a dinner that makes you overly full can disturb sleep. Eat slowly and try to stop eating when you are no longer hungry, but not yet full
Meditation: Incorporate meditation (or another relaxing practice, such as yoga) into your day
How do you keep yourself hydrated ?
Optimal health and keeping energised during the day does not only include eating well balanced meals, SnackPacks consisting of essential macro nutrients Protein, Fats & carb and regular exercise but also maintaining adequate hydration. At birth our bodies are made up of 75% water, these levels drop to around 57% in our adult lives. It is vital to the functioning of our muscles, organs and blood that we are adequately hydrated. Most of us by now know that an average of 8 glasses is optimal for daily hydration but do most of us know why? Heres a few reasons to consider:
Effective Digestion – if you are eating well and consuming healthy fibre in your diet you will need to ensure you are drinking enough water to assist with digestion & your elimination process
Good sleep – if you find yourself with boundless energy just before bedtime and struggle to nod off it may in fact be due to dehydration – our bodies need hydration in order to have peaceful & restorative sleep. NB If you opt for herbal tea in the evening make sure its caffeine free otherwise it may have the opposite effect & keep you awake longer
Kidney Support – our wonderful kidneys primary job is to remove nasty substances such as food additives and various other toxins from our bloodstream, in order for them to function effectively they need to be adequately hydrated
Maintain your form - if you exercise and aren't hydrated your muscles will become fatigued and you can become light headed which naturally leads to poor performance
Managing sugar cravings & appetite control - sugar cravings can be a sign of dehydration. If you drink a glass of water before meals or when you feel like you are going to succumb to cravings then your stomach will feel more full and you will be less likely to over indulge
Youthful skin – to keep your skin plump it needs to be hydrated. Your skin is made up of cells and like other cells they are made up of water. Without adequate hydration the cells don’t function well and this results in dry & flaky skin that is much more prone to wrinkling.
POTENTIAL WARNING SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION:
Below is a list of a few things to look out for that are reasonably common and can often be attributed to dehydration
EASY HYDRATION TIPS:
So we all know how much we should drink and now why we should but even with the very best education and good intentions, I still find myself on busy days not getting my full quota. So I’ve tried a few tricks to keep myself hydrated with ease….
Start the day right – lemon & a large glass of warm water not only tastes great first thing but it helps to kickstart your digestion process for the day and helps to alkalise your body
Set Reminders – enter a 3-4 re-occurring alarmed reminders in your phone every day to remind you to drink, sounds like over kill but it really works!
Fill up before meals - drink a glass of water at least 10 minutes before every meal. Not only does this assist with your daily hydration needs but it also can help to prevent you from over eating
Hydrate with more than water – find ways to gain hydration from not only water but other goodness such as herbal tea, ice-blocks made with real fruit & consuming foods(fruits & vege) with high water content. If you don’t like the taste of water on its own add some lemon/lime for flavour
Hungry or Thirsty? – When I feel a need to eat I ask myself if I am really hungry or thirsty. Thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger
Caffeeeeeiiind? - if like me you enjoy a daily coffee, be aware that coffee acts as a diuretic and causes dehydration so have an extra glass or 2 of water before or after your next coffee
Working out - if you are exercising regularly and especially in this heat (thank you Summer for finally arriving) then you are sweating out your vital fluids, make sure you are increasing your intake. For every 15mins of intense exercise, drink approx 1/2 litre of water.
Last but not least…
Arm yourself with a super cool drinking Vessel – Just like any exercise plans if you feel good in your fitness gear you are ten times more likely to work out, right? Same applies to hydration if you invest in a water vessel that you love the look of, one that you know is environmentally friendly rather than countless purchasing of nasty plastic pump bottles and that your new vessel doesn’t leak horrid toxins into your blood stream then of course you are far more likely to carry it with you everywhere & commit to your hydration goals.
I have been searching for suitable drink bottle options that are easy to fill, cute and easy to carry and have invested in this gorgeous coral coloured Camelbak from Little & Loved…..they have a range of vibrant colours & sizes. I’ve included some info on them below as mine has really helped to keep me on track these past couple of weeks
Stay hydrated SnackPackers x
DO YOU SUFFER FROM PORTION DISTORTION?
Are any of you trying to lose weight out there? If so you might be feeling a little frustrated that regardless of all your attempts to eat clean and healthy food this year that you still aren't seeing your cuddly bits shift. Could you be, like soooo many others, suffering from Portion Distortion?
Did you know, it as important for you to be aware of the appropriate amount of food you consume as the awareness of the food itself. As the old saying goes, 'too much of anything is not good for you....'
Studies show that when a food container is larger, people will eat more. In fact, they're more likely to eat until they reach the bottom of a box or bag, without even realizing how much they have eaten until all the food is gone....Guilt trip! Therefore, smaller portions sizes will help you eat less, right? Well, yes this is true if you only limit yourself to 1 of the packs and not eat more of them because you feel they weren't satisfying enough, which is often the case with smaller portions.
So how do you make snacks that are satisfying enough in controlled portions? The key to controlling hunger is NOT choosing lowest calorie snacks but to choose portion controlled packs that include all the vital macro nutrients: Protein, Carbs-Fibre & Healthy Fats. These macro nutrients are not only essential to our overall health, but combined, they help to curb sugar cravings, stabilise blood sugars and stop us from over eating come meal times. The low calorie snacks we often choose thinking that we are doing ourselves good, can leave us feeling dissatisfied and that is simply because they are empty calories, loaded with fake ingredients that your body doesn't recognise & lacking vital nutrients that truly nourish us and contribute to cellular energy. .
Just because you are trying to lose weight it doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself of healthy snacking in fact if you do, it could be detrimental to your weight loss goals & cause you to over eat come meal times. So snacking can be good for you if you keep it clean, natural, loaded with goodness and portion controlled
Good luck on your weight loss crusades, I hope this was helpful to anyone feeling a little unmotivated with their results and fighting feelings of deprivation.
Thats more like it...
We've got your portion distortion controlled with our SnackPack options, for more info check the weekly packs out here.....
TO SNACK OR NOT TO SNACK.....?
Ever found yourself succumbing to your grumbling tummy in the muffin section of the petrol station or let the grumble talk you into the lollies and chips in your vending machine down the hall??? If you answered with a no – then big ups, you are a bigger person than I but if the above rings true to any of you then heres a few facts as to why you’ll find it so damn hard to control yourself when you have the very best intentions……
Snacking is so important as it helps you to maintain energy levels, keep your moods level and stabilizes blood sugars which in turn results in minimising sugar cravings in between meals and prevents you from over indulging / inhaling when it comes to meal times. If you go long periods without any food you may find yourself lacking in concentration, feeling lethargic and maybe a little grumpy? One of our dear friends refers to this grumpy feeling as HANGRY (hungry angry) if she goes too long without food...am sure you can all relate to this description in some form and isnt something any of us want to encounter.
So its fair to say Snacking is important right? But let us consider this, not all Snack foods are created equal – traditional snacks on offer have come in the form of highly processed refined, high sugar and high GI carbohydrate of which offer little nutritional content to assist on your road to optimal energy and vitality and can in fact make you feel hungrier and more irritable in the long run. The right kind of snacking needs to provide you with Protein, Complex Carbs and the good fats to keep you feeling satisfied and running like a smoothly oiled machine.
So next time you are standing in line at the petrol station gazing mindlessly at a muffin lacking any real nutrition and countless calories – make a decision to arm yourself with a weekly Snack Pack and keep yourself satisfied with real food that provides you with what your body is truly needing and nothing else……
Healthy Snacking Delivered......
MUMS & BUBS
We have had loads of inquiries lately regarding our SnackPacks and which ones are appropriate for breast feeding mums. We had not specifically created packs with breast feeding in mind yet so we consulted with our favourite Holistic Nutritionist “Naturokath” Katherine Lonsdale Cooper and asked her for information on the topic and which ones of our packs she would see to be beneficial for mums & bubs.
Heres what the gorgeous "NaturoKath" had to say:
First place to start – keep food intake fresh, whole and organic!
Complete proteins are absolutely ESSENTIAL - Nuts, grains (quinoa), seeds, free range chicken, eggs and fish are great! Any of your products with nuts and seeds and quinoa! They would be fab!
For both pregnancy and breastfeeding. Regular and adequate protein intake is a must!
Healthy fats are also essential, again you can find these in nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds) especially and also numerous seeds including pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds.
Coconut oil or anything coconut is WONDERFUL FOR MUMMAS FEEDING BUBBA!
Oats are also great! So your Amazeballs containing oats and Coconut will also be a beneficial option in snacks for mums.
Snacking is essential to get adequate protein, so SnackPacks would be perfect for mums short on time and needing to ensure they are regularly eating good food that incorporate these healthy fats and protein!
Don’t forget HYDRATION, hydration, hydration - Heaps of water and NETTLE TEA is great for breast milk production! As is fennel and fenugreek. Flax seed oil super good too .
We have these teas, herbs and oils available in store @ Kingsland Herbal Health Centre for new mums short on time you can shop on line at http://www.herbalhealthcentre.co.nz/ or pop in store to have a chat with one of our Holistic Nutritionists.
Hope all the mums & bubs find this info useful.
Katherine Lonsdale Cooper “Naturokath"
FACE FAT FACTS - The good, the bad and the ugly on Fats
Fats and oils from nature are essential in your diet and are vital for human health and wellbeing. With all the “fad-diets” emerging in the modern world a lot of people cut out beneficial fats from their diets which can lead to many long-term health conditions.
Every cell in our body is surrounded by a protective cellular membrane which is strongly influenced by the types of fat consumed in your diet. Without a healthy membrane, cells lose their ability to hold water, electrolytes and vital nutrients and they also lose their ability to remove cellular waste products. Poor cellular membrane integrity can be the central factor in the development of virtually all health conditions.
By including the right type of fats within your diet, research shows you are reducing the risk of heart disease, auto-immune diseases, mood disorders, inflammation and many other chronic health conditions. To avoid becoming too technical, I like to classify different types of dietary fats as “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”.
THE GOOD: Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of long chain polyunsaturated fats that are classed as “essential fatty acids” because the body is unable to manufacture them. This means they must be obtained from the diet or through supplementation. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the two most important omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are crucial to human health.
EPA and DHA are transformed into hormone-like compounds known as prostaglandins which carry out a huge number of important tasks within the body. Prostaglandins play a role in the regulation of inflammation (pain and swelling), healthy nerve transmission, hormone production, the allergic response, healthy heart and blood pressure and digestive function. In addition to this they promote healthy, youthful skin and hair... need I say more!
A diet high in DHA and EPA ensures our cell membranes maintain healthy fluidity and integrity which allows cells to function optimally ultimately resulting in good health.
The highest amounts of omega 3 are found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, trout and sardines, which should ideally be consumed at lease 3 – 4 times per week. Omega 3 fatty acids are also found in flaxseed oil, dark green leafy vegetable, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, scallops, soy beans and tofu.
Mono-unsaturated fats are another type of beneficial fat to consume within your diet. These are found in abundance in cold-pressed olive oil, raw and unsalted nuts and seeds and avocados. These oils have been shown to offer protection against heart disease by controlling healthy cholesterol levels.
Coconut, coconut, coconut! It’s the new craze and quite rightly so. I feel like I could write a novel on the benefits of coconut oil. Coconut oil is a type of saturated fat that helps to lower cholesterol levels, support immune function, improve digestion, eliminate toxins AND helps the absorption of beneficial nutrients from our food. Coconut oil contains a medium chain fatty acid called lauric acid. Lauric acid has proven anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti fungal activity making it very beneficial for healthy immune function. Coconut oil has the highest heating point of all oils making it the most stable oil to fry and cook with.
THE BAD:Bad fats include processed vegetable fats and oils from the supermarket, such as canola, soy, safflower, sunflower, soybean and corn oil. If a label does not say “cold-pressed” and/or “extra virgin” they should not be purchased. Most processed and prepared foods, such as margarine, salad dressing, mayonnaise, biscuits, crackers, breakfast cereals, cooking and baking oils contain these types of fats and oils. Just because they are not always listed on the labels does not mean they aren’t present in the product. The best way to avoid these types of oils is to replace refined and processed foods with wholesome and fresh ingredients.
THE UGLY: Trans Fats are the most damaging fats and oils for the human body. They are made through a process called hydrogenation where the structure of the oil is changed to become solid or semi-solid at room temperature to expand the shelf life of the product. Trans or hydrogenated fats, as found in margarine and olive oil spreads (Flora Lite etc), are extremely damaging to the whole body. They are particularly harmful to cell membrane function, they place stress on the liver, cause immune system dysfunction and chronic inflammation.
QUINOA: Power packed super grain!
Quinoa (keen-wah) has been a staple in the South American diet for over 6,000 years. Quinoa is referred to as a grain-like-seed due to the fact it is actually a seed but cooked like a grain. This wonderful ancient-grain is forever making it into my meals – both breakfast, lunch and dinner and just the thought of my pantry supplies running low throws me into a mild state of anxiety. It has great flavour, potent nutritional value, and is so quick and easy to make. Its texture is crunchy; its taste is delightful and it cooks in just 12 minutes. How could you not love it?
Some of the many benefits of quinoa include:
High in Protein: Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain (one cup contains 8 grams of protein). It is a complete vegetarian source of protein, with an essential amino acid balance close to perfect!
Alkaline:Quinoa is an alkaline food, just like fruit and vegetables. The alkaline nature of this wonderful grain reduces tissue acidity which can be the main cause of many modern health conditions like arthritis and inflammation.
Minerals and vitamins: Asides from its unique protein content Quinoa is a rich source of magnesium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
High fibre and Low GI: In a 1-cup serving, the edible seeds of the quinoa plant have 10 grams of fiber. The low glycemic load of quinoa means it helps maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day therefore helping focus and concentration AND curbing those unwanted mid-afternoon sugar cravings.
Gluten free: Last, but not least, quinoa is a fantastic alternative to gluten containing grains for anyone on a gluten / wheat – free diet. It is probably the least allergenic of the grains making it a staple in all diets.
Cooking Quinoa:Put 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water in a pot. Bring to the boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 10 – 12 mins until all the moisture us absorbed. Quinoa can be used as a base for any salad, added to soup, can act as a great rice substitute in any dish and can be made into breakfast cereals and porridge.
I have attached a recipe made by my lovely friend and colleague Rosanne Sullivan. This has become a staple in my weekly menu – with a salad, or steamed vegetables and sometimes fish or organic chicken. It is quick, easy and delicious! I always make extra so that I have left over for lunch the next day!
1 ½ tablespoons butter, ghee, coconut oil or olive oil
1 ½ cup quinoa
1 ½ cups homemade chicken stock (or vege stock)
5 cloves garlic
6 -8 mushrooms chopped into small chunks
3 -4 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
¼ - ½ cup pitted olives chopped roughly
Salt and pepper to taste
Method: Sauté onion and garlic in butter or oil for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté for 3 more minutes. Add quinoa stirring for 2 -3 minutes. Add stock, rosemary and olives. Bring to the boil then turn down to simmer. Cook till the liquid is absorbed (approx 10mins).
Ten Tips to Reduce Workplace Stress
Workplace stress contributes to so many health issues including aging, weight gain, illness and disease. Feeling stressed during your workday? Here are a few simple tips to help you stress…less.
1. Learn how to say "no". When you're already overextended, taking on additional tasks will only create more stress and anxiety. Stop piling onto your full workload by learning how to say "no."
2. Make your workspace work for you. Personalize your workspace with things that calm and soothe you. That could mean pictures of loved ones or photos of serene settings, something calming on your desk or even music playing softly around you. You can also download apps with sounds like waterfalls, birds, rain, wind or whichever sounds give you a sense of peace and serenity.
3. Keep things in perspective. Sure you have projects to finish and deadlines to meet but stress is tied to many diseases and is a main reason for many emergency room visits. Is what you're getting stressed over worth losing your health?
4. De-clutter and organize your workspace. Make the decision to keep, file or toss then organize everything left within in your space so things are easy to find.Clutter creates stress by vying for your attention so de-clutter your space to de-clutter your mind.
5. Improve your productivity. Take note of how you're scheduling your workday and what you're spending your time on. For many people, delegating certain times to check email, make phone calls, schedule breaks or work on specific tasks is a great way to get more done with less stress.
6. Be realistic. Go for progress, not perfection because trying to be perfect is a perfect recipe for stress. Of course you want to do a good job but take the pressure off by learning what's good enough in order to keep your stress in check.
7. Steer clear of "energy vampires." We all know them. They're the people who drain you of your time, energy and motivation…if you let them. They also increase your stress. By spending time with those who are positive, uplifting, fun and inspiring you'll reduce your stress while being encouraged to be, do and have more.
8. Exercise. Burn off some steam by taking regular breaks to move and stretch throughout your day. Exercising before your workday can set the tone for a productive, energetic day while exercising after your workday can help reduce your stress before you come home. No matter when you exercise, working out regularly is a great stress reducer, encourages more restful sleep, reduces your risk for stress related conditions and disease in addition to having so many other physical, mental and emotional benefits.
9. Take an objective look at your job/career. Stress is often a result of dissatisfaction and a lack of joy. Are you enjoying your work? Does it bring you satisfaction and fulfillment or is it only a means to a paycheck? Maybe it's time to change your responsibilities, take on a new challenge or possibly a new career. Work doesn't feel like work when you're doing something you love so take a look to see how you're feeling about how you spend your day.
10. Have more fun. Being responsible doesn't mean you can't have fun. Lighten up and laugh more by being mindful of who and what you're allowing into your life. Negative people, programs and information increase anxiety, stress and fear while positive influences strengthen your immune system and make life more enjoyable. Be strict about the messages you allow yourself to see, hear and absorb.