5 Easy Healthy Habits

ginger (1) During my year long journey of intention I explored breaking habits. Habits form about 95% of our behaviour which means a lot of what we do is done unconsciously, with out thought. Our health and well being is often left to chance unless we have consciously created healthy habits.

For example you eat you lunch and then start to wonder which chocolate bar to have today? Or upon arriving home from work you pour your usual glass of wine to relax you. Or you light up your 6th cigarette for the day with out thinking.

These are just habits. Things we do with out having to even think about it.

If you find a habit is not working for you any more the first step is to bring your awareness to it. Upon doing it ask yourself;

  • what you are getting from it? how is it serving you?
  • if you are committed to living a healthy life, then how is it holding you back from this?
  • and finally what could you replace it with?

It takes 21 days to build a new habit or neural pathway. So to begin with creating a new habit will require will power, creativity and determination but after 3 weeks it will be a lot easier. To take the pressure off yourself simply say "I'll just do this for 21 days" rather than forever.

Following are 5 easy healthy habits I have created that I find serve me well;

1) Upon waking I drink a mug of ginger tea. It's great for digestion, it's anti-inflammatory so good for the healing process, it gets rid of congestion, it's warming and it  improves the absorption and assimilation of essential nutrients in the body. Sometimes I also like warm lemon juice although I find it makes my teeth hurt, I think it's all the acid.

2) I meditate and practice yoga after my mug of ginger tea. Some days for 2 hours and some just for 20 minutes, all depending on how much time I have. Even just going into child's pose, doing a couple of sun salutations and then lying with my legs up the wall for 10 mins sets me up for the day ahead.

3) I use a lot of tumeric in my cooking, like ginger it's so good for you. It calms your digestion, is anti inflammatory, antioxidant, it protects the liver, reduces blood cholesterol levels, protects against Alzheimers disease, cancer and heart disease. I regularly make lentil and carrot soup with this in and lots of veggie curries.

4) Seeds. Seeds are great to snack on, put in soups, salads and on porridge. They are slow release energy so great for balancing blood sugar, are filled with healthy fat, are high energy, contain many minerals such as magnesium, zinc, calcium and phosphorus needed for bone development, immunity and energy production. A little trick I have for making them tasty for snacks is to sauté them in a little bit of soy sauce and chilli.

5) Oatcakes. Nairns make sweet and savoury oatcakes. The sweet biscuits come in different flavours like ginger, chocolate and mixed berry. They are so good if you like to have something sweet in the afternoon but are cutting down on chocolate.

So those are my easy habits. Two slightly harder ones that have served me well have been to cut down alcohol consumption and caffeine to a bare minimum. The benefits have been huge;  balancing my blood sugar, sleeping well, less headaches, my digestion system is good, my energy is maintained through out the day, I can think clearly and consciously. It also stops me from craving unhealthy foods.

It's the start of Spring, there is lots of fresh energy around right now bringing in new good things to us. So why not use this time to create a new healthy habit? Just for 21 days.....




Why You Should Be Lifting Weights

  Posted by Louise but written by Michael!

Let’s be honest, if given the choice, chances are you’re always going to pick cardio for your workout. Why should you be lifting weights? Cardio is where the real calorie burn is, right? Yes it’s true; cardio is a great good way to burn lots of calories fast. And when we hit the gym, or the road, or whatever form your exercise takes, we all want to burn calories. But what if there were a way to burn more calories all day long? A way to ensure every workout you got was a calorie burner? It’s possible and it’s why you should be lifting weights.

Cardio activities like running are definitely going to torch a ton of calories in a short period of time. But lifting weights allows your body to burn more calories for a longer period of time. Lifting weights builds muscles and muscles burn more calories than fat at rest. So the more muscle tissue you have in your body, the more calories your body is burning all the time, whether it’s a during a quick run or lying on the sofa.

Besides helping you to become a much more effective calorie-burning machine, lifting weights and building muscles are helpful to all systems in your body.


Other reasons why you should be lifting weights:

• Protects your joints and back. The more muscles you have the more power and strength you have to lift objects. That means you are putting less strain on your joints and back.

• Helps fight free radicals. Research has shown that when individuals lift weights on a regular basis, they have less damage to their body from free radicals than sedentary individuals.

• Strengthens your bones. Lifting weights allows your bones to grow. By lifting weights you put pressure on your bones and surrounding muscles, which increases your bone mineral density. This higher level of BMD is what prevents osteoporosis. Studies have shown that resistance training can even repair bones that have already seen significant bone loss.

• Improves your looks. Lean muscle tissue just looks better than fat. It’s tighter and smoother than fat, which tends to be lumpy and sag.

• Makes you feel great! Besides looking better, when you lift weights you’ll feel better too. All those endorphins you are releasing through exercise boosts your mood. And then when you look in the mirror your positive feelings will be validated.

Coping with an injury

  Posted by Louise but written by Michael!

Injuries, they’re inevitable. At one time or another you are going to hurt your arm, your back, your knee, something on your body is going to get injured and you have to cope with it. If you’re lucky the medical advice may be a simple: just rest it for a bit. Or you might hear the dreaded words of: you need surgery. Either way, simple injury or life changing one, coping with an injury is not always easy.

If you are normally an active person dealing with any kind of injury can be quite difficult. There are emotional issues as well as physical issues you have to work through. The following strategies may make the process easier and help you come out of recovery quicker.

Acknowledge your injury Before you can start to recover, you have to first acknowledge you are hurt. While it can be easy to ignore pain and just “work through it,” if you really are injured the pain is not going to go away but intensify. You may be able to self-diagnose the problem (e.g., your shins hurt because you’ve upped your runs from 3 miles a day to 8 without slowly building your endurance). Or, you may need to see a professional. Understand that it’s not a sign of weakness to seek medical advice, and often it can save you from turning a minor injury into a major one.

Understand your injury Once you know the specifications of your injury you will appreciate what your limitations are and why. For example, if you learn that you have a partially torn cartilage in your arm, you’ll understand why if you continue to use that arm and not let the injury heal, you’re going to eventually have a full-torn cartilage. You also need to understand how you got your injury so that if possible, you can avoid repeat injuries.

Maintain a Positive Attitude Getting hurt and being in pain stinks. It is no fun not being able to do the things you love, especially when all your friends, teammates or training partners can. But the mind is a very powerful thing. A flood of constant, negative thoughts are only going to make the healing process take longer. But research has shown that it may be possible to speed up the healing process by using specific mental skills and techniques such as imagery: imagining the way it will feel when you are recovered, imagining the desired outcome as though it is happening now or has already happened. So keep a positive attitude, remain focused on the good you’re doing (healing your injury), imagine yourself healed and you will recover faster and who knows, maybe even stronger.

Maintain Your Fitness While Injured This is probably the hardest part; maintaining your fitness while recovering. Depending upon the type of injury you have, you will probably have to modify your training or add alternate forms of training to maintain cardiovascular conditioning or strength. While it may not be your favorite form of exercise or work you as hard as you want, but there are always options. For example, if you can't run, perhaps you can cycle or swim. If you can’t do any lower body work, focus on arms and core. Or if you can’t really do much moving around at all, work on relaxation training. Use your recovery time as a time to experiment with new training options. Keep an open mind, you may find out you really love yoga and never knew it. Or that all these years of being a runner you were really meant to be a swimmer. Or not. But just keep moving in whatever capacity you can.

Injuries are an unfortunate fact of life. You may be lucky and never have to cope with a really debilitating injury. But for most of us, even having to take just a few weeks off our normal routine can seem debilitating. But if you acknowledge the injury and learn what it takes to heal it and then follow that advice with a positive attitude, coping with an injury isn’t that bad.