Healthy Emotions for Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Healthy Emotions for Healthy Lifestyle Choices

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Making healthy food and drink choices is something we all know how to do on a logical and intellectual level. Nowadays we have easy access to an abundance of healthy-eating advice and information, and healthy living is a hot topic.

We all know that an apple is a better choice than a bar of chocolate. We know that our bodies are crying out for a drink of hydrating, cleansing water and not a chemical-laden can of Diet Coke.

Why, then, can it be so difficult to make the right choice?

Why can it be so difficult to break a bad habit, even when we know that the benefits of doing so would be immense and probably even life-changing?

The answer to these questions is not that we are lazy or weak or greedy or undeserving (or whichever negative narrative we have come to believe).

The answer to these questions is programming. We are programmed from the time we are in the womb and this programming goes on for our whole lives.

Our conscious mind accounts for only around 5% of our entire mind. Just 5%! This, of course, means that the other 95% of the time (i.e. almost always) we are functioning from the programmes which have been embedded into our subconscious at some point in our life.

A good analogy for this is learning to drive. It is only a conscious process when we are actively learning and have to consciously remember to put the clutch down before we change gear or remember ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’, for example. Once we are competent and experienced drivers, driving becomes a subconscious process and we often arrive at our destination and struggle to remember how we got there!

What’s more, the subconscious mind processes information billions of times more quickly than the conscious mind. So, this fact coupled with the fact that the subconscious accounts for around 95% of our mind as a whole should give you some idea of how incredibly powerful the influence of our subconscious programming is.

This is absolutely fine – in fact, it’s great! – if we are operating on positive subconscious programmes like ‘I am worthy’ or ‘I deserve to be happy’ or ‘I love my life’.

Often, however, we are operating on more detrimental programmes:

‘I’m not good enough’

‘I don’t deserve to be happy/healthy/attractive’

‘I’m not clever enough’

‘My sister is the pretty one’

‘I can’t do anything right’

‘My mum has always been overweight so I will be too’

‘Food is the only thing that makes me happy’.

And many, many more.

Do any of these sound familiar? Do any of these resonate with you or make you feel uncomfortable/sad/angry?

Our bodies record every experience we ever have, from our time in the womb onwards (quite a thought, I know!). So even when we can’t consciously remember an experience because we were very young (or often because we have managed quite successfully to push it right to the back of our minds), our body still holds on to the memory.

Any feelings with a high emotional charge, e.g. inferiority, guilt, jealousy, failure, etc., stay with us until we take steps to acknowledge them and clear the relevant emotion from our bodies, minds and energy systems.

Of course, food and emotions are intrinsically linked, hence why we can inadvertently sabotage our attempts at healthy living (or indeed anything else we are attempting to change in our lives). 

Eating to fill an emotional void, eating due to loneliness, powerlessness, boredom, stress…the list goes on.

As incredible as it may seem, we can even choose to hold on to excess weight at a (deeply!) subconscious level as it can give us a feeling of protection; it creates a barrier between us and a harsh world. Or perhaps if we have been badly hurt in a relationship then we can (again, DEEPLY subconsciously) decide to make ourselves feel less attractive in some way so that we are less likely to be approached by prospective partners and can therefore avoid being hurt again.

Huge steps forward can be made when we clear these old, stuck emotions and outdated subconscious programmes which no longer serve us.

When we are functioning from an emotionally-balanced, positively-programmed mindset it is significantly easier to opt for the healthy choice, not only because we are operating from a healthier, more neutral perspective, but also because we are far more in tune with our bodies and emotions.

So, to help yourself along the path to lasting change, as well as following advice from a qualified Nutritionist, take some time to tune into yourself and see if you can identify where and/or when these emotions originate from (you might be surprised).

With a bit of time and effort, it is absolutely possible to clear the negative emotions and programming which are holding us back and to implement balance and positive programming in their place, allowing us to move forward with greater ease and confidence.

Melanie holds the International Diploma in Integrated Healing, a revolutionary healing system that which works on the whole being (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) to release blocks to health, happiness and true wellbeing. Integrated Healing combines the best of modern Psychology, Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Physiology, Applied Kinesiology, Traditional Chinese Medicine, complementary medicine (and many other therapies) with its own unique methodologies.

www.melaniehigginbotham.com

Better Gut Health & Well-Being

Better Gut Health & Well-Being

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Learning to support your gut and the beneficial bacteria that live there is the best thing you can do for your health.

The good news is that feeding the gut with foods can be fun. Good bacteria love so many delicious fruits, grains, legumes, vegetables, herbs, and spices. Beneficial fats found in butter, olive oil, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, avocado oil, and coconut oil provide nutrients that nourish the gut and, of course, protein is always needed to build a healthy home for the bacteria.

Maybe you react to certain foods. That is a sign you do not have the needed good bacteria to digest the food properly. Working on your gut health may help you to stop reacting. So, what do you have to lose? Feed your gut and feel the rewards.

In a perfect world, we would all have known more about the beneficial microbes in and on our body and how to look after them. We would know how to feed them, and we would be reaping the amazing health they help us achieve.

Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in, and many of us live with results of poor gut management and the symptoms that go with it – gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, and inflammation.

This is a complex issue, and what we know is that poor gut health is being linked as a factor to every other health condition. No matter what health condition you may have, being nice to your gut microbes should be part of any plan for repair and recovery.

Refined and processed foods:  They do not feed the microbes properly so that they can thrive and protect us.

Antibiotics: They deplete both good and bad bacteria and for some reason, the bad recover faster from antibiotic use than the good.

Other Medications: Corticosteroids, birth control pills, aspirin, ibuprofen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) interfere with the mucus lining – the home of the good bacteria where they reproduce.

Stress: In today’s world, we run around like crazy with too many activities and responsibilities and it’s taking its toll. Amongst many other things, excess stress depletes good bacteria levels. In return, too much bad bacteria stimulates cortisol production, our main stress hormone.

Poor Sleeping Habits: Our gut bacteria sleep when we sleep, and just one night of no sleep can lower the quality and quantity of our gut microbes. Think about what it must mean when poor- quality sleep occurs night after night for many years.

Bad Digestive Habits: Chewing food properly is key to digesting good food properly. Forty-five per cent of the bacteria in the gut is seeded by the bacteria in the mouth. And to make sure the bacteria is primarily beneficial, we need to secrete lots of antimicrobial saliva to keep the bad bacteria levels low. Chewing stimulates saliva production and we need to chew more.

Exercise: Too little or too much doesn’t help us maintain our good bacteria levels. Moderate exercise on a regular basis is the best option.

What you need to know:

There are two types of beneficial bacteria:

Residential bacteria are native to you, and this is what you need to build and maintain long-term health.

Transient bacteria are found in probiotic supplements and fermented foods – they help while they are there, but they’re just passing through.

Do you suffer from foods sensitivities or allergies?

Food sensitivities are not caused by the food. They are a digestive issue due to lack of enzymes and/or lack of good bacteria. We do not know what strains any one person is missing, but we do know that different strains help us digest different foods. For example, lactose intolerance is due to lack of the good bacteria that helps break down lactose. Improving the quantity and quality of the strains will improve the ability to digest all types of foods.

What is dysbiosis?

It’s the name given to the condition in the gut when there is no longer the right ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria. The gut should have 85 per cent beneficial microbes. Anything less than this can result in symptoms, and as the ratio gets further out of balance, more symptoms occur. Dysbiosis has been linked to all major health conditions.

It’s residential bacteria that need to be re-established. Probiotic supplements can help in the short term, but the permanent solution is finding the right balance of foods and lifestyle that the gut requires to function at it best on its own.

What do residential bacteria like to eat?

They like fibre like FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides), polyphenols, and resistant starch. Dairy products contain two types of food for bacteria – lactose and GOS (galacto-oligosaccharides) They also function best with lots of vitamins and minerals. So, load up on the fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dairy products.

The key to a healthy gut is increasing the number and diversity of strains. Different foods feed different strains so variety is the key.

 Instructions: Take a look at the suggestions in each section. Pick the ones that are easiest for you to add to your daily life. Add one at a time if that is what works best for you. The goal is to add more suggestions as you go until you find the right combination for you. Look for your digestive, elimination and energy functions to improve. To view the above table click on this link 3 Best Steps To Better Gut Health and Well.

If you need further help and support please get in touch with me.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Christy x

 

How Food Can Affect More Than Your Weight

How Food Can Affect More Than Your Weight

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What you eat can affect many areas of your health from your mood to how well you sleep. Your body needs a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to keep you in great physical and mental condition so it’s important to nourish it with the right foods and drinks. Here’s how your food can affect your mood, sleep, concentration and even your chances of developing depression.

How Food Affects Your Mood

If your blood sugar fluctuates too much, it can leave you feeling tired and irritable. Ideally, you want to be eating foods that keep your blood sugar stable which includes complex carbs such as brown rice, oats and whole grains. Nuts and seeds are also great for this.

Some foods can have a direct effect on your mood too. Fatty fish is packed with omega 3 fatty acids that affect the production of neurotransmitters in your brain, especially serotonin and dopamine. Both of these have a really strong link with your mood and low levels are linked to mood disorders. Fatty fish isn’t the only food that gives you an omega 3 boost; flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts also count. For dopamine, make sure you’re getting plenty of poultry, fish, eggs and leafy greens in your diet.

Protein is another nutrient that can affect your mood. A lot of foods with protein contain tryptophan, an amino acid that can help your body to produce more serotonin and dopamine. Chicken and turkey are good sources but if you’re a vegetarian, you can eat beans, lentils and quinoa to reap the benefits.

What you’re not eating can also be important. According to studies, not getting enough folate or B vitamins, in general, can make you more prone to depression and have a negative impact on your sleep and energy levels. Greens are a great source of folate so be sure to include plenty of leafy greens, broccoli and peas if you’re struggling with low mood.  Low selenium levels are also linked to fatigue, anxiety and even depression. Snack on walnuts or a handful of Brazil nuts to get your selenium levels up.

Depression may be linked to chemical imbalances in the brain but some nutrients are thought to make this more likely, especially if you’re deficient in them. For example, low levels of vitamin D are linked to a higher risk of depression and experts believe that getting enough vitamin D can be crucial for a healthy mind. Natural sunlight is the best option but you can also get vitamin D from your diet through fatty fish, eggs and liver. This is the better option when the sun isn’t out in colder climates.

How Food Affects Sleep

You might not realise it but what you eat can have a big impact on how well you sleep. Some foods are known to encourage sleep because of the nutrients they contain and anything containing magnesium is a good bet, according to studies. Need a magnesium boost? Go for leafy greens (especially spinach), almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and high-quality dark chocolate.

Another important nutrient is vitamin B6, which your body uses to make both melatonin and serotonin. If you’re not aware of melatonin and its role in the body, it’s known as the “sleep hormone”. This gives you an indication of how important it is for sleep! Our melatonin levels can be disrupted by “blue light” from screens and devices and as low levels of melatonin can make it hard to sleep well, it’s definitely something you want to be producing a decent amount of.

When it comes to melatonin, tryptophan helps here too (not just with mood!) as it helps your body to make more melatonin.  Chicken, turkey, milk, nuts and seeds all contain tryptophan and can help more melatonin be produced.

How Food Affects Concentration

If you find yourself struggling with concentration and focus, it’s time to look at your diet and whether you’re eating foods that are known to help.

A 2013 study found that people who were drinking 2 cups of cacao every day for a month were able to improve blood flow to their brains, which led to better results in memory tests. If you’d rather not drink a cup of cacao, a square of high-quality dark chocolate (minimum 70% cacao) can have a similar effect as long as there aren’t high sugars or other additives.

In a 2012 report, drinking blueberry juice daily for two months also led to better performance on memory and learning tests. This means that snacking on blueberries can be perfect if you need a focus boost!

And of course, there’s always water! Dehydration can cause tiredness and concentration problems, even if you’re only slightly dehydrated. Drinking a glass of water could be all you need to get more focused if dehydration is the problem.

Food wise, the omega 3 fatty acids in salmon can reduce cognitive decline and keep your brain sharp and focused. Another good reason to eat fatty fish a couple of times per week!

Now that you know how food impacts your mood, what did you notice you might need to add to your diet this week to counteract your nutritional imbalance?

Wishing you health and happiness,

Christy x

5 Quick and Easy Self-care Tips for Busy Women

5 Quick and Easy Self-care Tips for Busy Women

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For busy women, self-care can feel like an unaffordable luxury. Self-care is often advertised as long weekends spent at the beach, a trip to the spa, or even hours spent on exercise. In reality, though, self-care can be anything (small or big) you do to give your body attention.

Which is why the following self-care tips won’t take more than 10 minutes of your time while still having a big impact on your body and mind.

Touch your toes and stretch

It’s easy to ignore the stress in our spines. But the truth of the matter is that when we spend long hours hunched over the computer, curled up on the couch or picking up after the kids, our posture and body take the backseat. It won’t take more than ten minutes to step out of your chair and touch your toes, but the stretching will do your aching joints and body some long-lasting good.

While you’re at it, stretch the rest of your body as well. Perhaps you can look up a yoga posture, or you have a stretching routine in mind already. Whether it is advanced or basic, any kind of stretching will keep your body functioning well despite periods of inactivity. Touch your toes, extend your arms and gear yourself up physically and mentally for whatever task is at hand.

 

Massage and moisturise

We tend to link massage and fancy lotions to a day at the spa, not many of us have the time or budget to indulge in frequent spa trips. But that’s okay because no masseuse will know your body and your preferences as well as you do!

Use a natural lotion such as organic coconut oil or avocado oil (don’t be afraid to indulge in your favourite) and rub it mindfully into your arms and shoulders, or even across your legs. Spread the cream or oil gently and thoroughly and use your hands to massage over your body across areas that you might not realise are aching. You might come across some sudden sore spots, it’s important to focus on those for a moment, rubbing in the lotion. You will be relaxed and energised and your skin will benefit greatly from the extra moisturising.

Phone a friend

At a time where connectivity options are abundant, it’s funny how disconnected we actually are. The troubles of everyday life can be exhausting and drain us of all the time and will to socialise beyond what is absolutely necessary. During our free time, there are personal things we need to tend to that make socialising take a back seat. But to truly care for ourselves, we need to nurture social and emotional aspects as well.

While it’s easy to pick up your phone and send a text, take ten minutes out of your day to chat with a friend or family member. You benefit just as much as they do. Simply talk about your day and maintain the feeling of being connected. Your support system can help relieve stress and help you to maintain a healthy mindset through your shared bond.

Drink two additional glasses of water today

Water is that little magic potion we all too often ignore: it relieves fatigue, clears skin, detoxes your body, improves digestion, and prevents cramps. And yet we often forget to hydrate, or hydrate so little we get headaches as a result. Not only will drinking two glasses of water help you hydrate, it will also give you much-needed time to get away from your technological devices and focus on your surroundings.

Drink the water slowly and savour the break from your work before you dive back into it. Take it in slow sips if you need to, and be sure to follow this tip regularly to met your daily requirement of H2O. Try to follow the sensation of the water as it trickles down your throat as this will help you take your mind off of the stress and daily chaos of your life for a few seconds. Not a big water fan? Add a little squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to add a touch of flavour. Better yet, grab a jug of water and put some sliced fruit such as strawberries and mint for a delightful way to get your water in.

Play with your pet or go for a walk

Whether it’s a furry friend or a tank full of fish, scientists have proven the health benefits of animals at every turn. A pet of your own means a faithful companion. And in addition to that spending time with a pet is a proven way to lower blood pressure and increase oxytocin levels.

The enjoyment from pets can be calming and repetitive motion of petting your companion (or even staring at a fish tank!) will help soothe you. Don’t have a pet? Go for a walk to your local park, just taking in the sights of other dogs and animals has the same impact on your wellbeing.

Self-care isn’t just about facials, eating your greens and getting your hair done. It’s also about the soul food that fuels you and the small things that make big impacts on your overall wellbeing. By practising these 5 tips, you get to spend 10 minutes away from whatever it is you do each day and you get to separate yourself from the chaos and stress of your daily life. There is so much more to achieving a happy healthy body and mind than diet and exercise!

If you would like to have a chat about how I can support you to achieve a healthy balanced lifestyle, then please book a free telephone consultation at a time that suits you best.

Wishing you health & happiness,

Christy x