June 20, 2017
We’re flying through 2017 – can you believe it’s already June? But we’re using this month as a time for internal reflection and assessment as to how we’re faring this year.
For this week’s blog, we’re looking at our nutrition to see where we might be holding ourselves back.
Fruit & Vegetable Test
We have previously been told that we need 5 (vegetables) and 2 (fruits) a day to help prevent various diseases and remain healthy, but new research has come out showing that 10 portions a day may give us longer lives. The study by Imperial College London calculated that such eating habits could prevent 7.8 million premature deaths each year.
One of the researchers, Dr Dagfinn Aune said: “Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system.” Compared with eating no fruits or vegetables a day, the research showed:
~ 200g cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by 13% while 800g cut the risk by 28%
~ 200g cut the risk of cancer by 4%, while 800g cut the risk by 13%
~ 200g cut the risk of a premature death by 15%, while 800g cut the risk by 31%
So the basic message is the more the better.
Now what does that mean for you? It means that we need to jam pack every single meal with vegetables, as the ‘meat and three vege’ for dinner is no longer going to cut it. But how do you do it?
1. Breakfast: integrate vegetables (spinach, avocado, tomatoes, kale) into your breakfast through a vege-packed omelette or a super-boost smoothie. When you mix the vegetables with either the egg mixture or some fruit in your blender, you won’t even taste the goodness that you’re getting.
2. Lunch: have a salad-based lunch packed with mixed vegetables that can be integrated with your lean protein (animal or plant based). Or for those colder months, bring leftovers of slow cooked stir-frys and soups.
3. Dinner: form the foundation of your dinners on vegetables rather than carbohydrates. For example, use grated cauliflower instead of rice or spiralled zucchini instead of pasta. Using vegetables to replace carbohydrates not only ups your vegetable servings, it also cuts down on the sugar hit you may be getting from the carbohydrates at dinner.
4. Snacks: fruit is one of the best snacks to have, but don’t forget that chopped up vegetables dipped in hummus is also a killer snack. Combine that with some nuts and you’ve got a wholesome snack.
If there’s ONE element that we could all do with cutting down on, it’s sugar. Even if you’re not one to add sugar to your morning tea/coffee (but particularly if you are!), there are hidden sugars in most of the packaged foods that we’re eating.
Health research tells us that we should be limiting our sugar intake to 3-5 teaspoons a day, or in other words 5-15grams of sugar. Factoring this into your day is made more difficult by the fact that ‘serving sizes’ are often misleading calculations of the amount of a certain food we are going to eat.
To really take stock of your daily sugar count, track your intake of all foods over a standard 7 day period and see the breakdown. Our favourite tracker is MyFitnessPal.
Here at EBM we don’t believe in calorie counting. Our bodies don’t seem to enjoy being told that we need to restrict our food, and they certainly don’t want to feel like they’re missing out.
However, we do need to be mindful of how much we are consuming throughout the day compared to our energy expenditure. More often than not, it is our snacking in between meals that lets us down in the calorie consumption department.
Our body isn’t made to be constantly digesting foods, as there are loads more primary functions that it needs to be completing. Think of eating like emails on your computer. You want to be focusing on your core work – the projects that drive the output you do each day. But emails continue to trickle in throughout the day, distracting you away from your core task.
Snacking is the same principle for our body. Instead of our body being able to focus on detoxifying, replacing new cells, and recharging (the core task), it has to keep coming back to digesting foods (the emails).
Take stock of how often you are eating throughout the day. The fitness industry has unfortunately advocated for these six small meals throughout the day to allegedly ‘keep our metabolism firing’. But the research just doesn’t stack up. Findings from intermittent fasting shows us that allowing the body considerable breaks between meals (anywhere from 4 to 18 hours overnight) does wonders for our body’s longevity. If you are eating more than 2-3 times per day, see whether you can limit that down by 1 meal in the first month.
Cravings seem to now be a regular part of life – that 3pm slump sends millions of Australian’s to the proverbial cookie jar to get their afternoon hit. In coaching, we talk about the 8 main causes of cravings and being able to identify the cause for the craving helps to eliminate or reduce it. This week, just identify the timing and the source of your cravings. Next week we’ll go through what those cravings mean and how best to overcome them.
So it’s easy to see how our eating and energy habits can slowly start to sabotage us. Taking stock every 3-6 months can help lead us back to the path we set off on at the beginning of each year. Remember, we don’t fall off the bandwagon, we drift; to get back on we need to assess where we are.
Photo Credit: @smoothie._
What is epsom salt? It is made of naturally occurring minerals magnesium and sulphate. It’s a time tested mineral compound that’s been proven to have considerable health benefits with dozens of uses. Doctors warn us that a lack of magnesium – of which many Australians suffer – can contribute to high blood pressure, hyperactivity, heart problems, and many other health issues. Sulphate is essential to help flush out toxins and aid in forming proteins in the joints, brain tissue and mucin proteins.
Not only does it have all these health benefits, but it’s also a great remedy for your body in terms of fitness recovery, beauty routines and strangely enough tackling the outdoors! So whether you’re sore from a big training session, looking to improve your skin or hair, or have a splinter from the backyard, you’ve come to the right place to learn how to utilise the benefits of epsom salt.
When you are sore after a training session, there is often associated inflammation that is occurring as the body tries to ‘heal’. Epsom salts contain anti-inflammatory properties which will help aid the recovery from a training session. You can create an ice-pack type solution with epsom salts to really help speed up the process of recovery.
1 teaspoon epsom salt
1 cup boiling water
1.Poor the hot water over the epsom salt to dissolve
2. Cool the mixture in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes
3. Apply the cold mixture to sore areas of your body for relief
If you are however sore all over, spot treating the pain may not be enough. Epsom salts can be used in a bath setting, as the salts are readily absorbed by our skin. There are also a few options with your bath; a warm bath or an ice bath. Using epsom salts in a warm bath or ice bath (if you’re brave!) will considerably speed up recovery and help ease muscle and joint pain all over the body. Practice this ritual 2-3 times a week for the best results.
You all know the benefits of exfoliation for the body – detoxifying the skin, gets rid of dead skin cells, kills bacteria to prevent breakouts – the list is endless. There are lots of ways to integrate epsom salt into your daily routine to experience these benefits from head to toe LITERALLY!
Dealing with oily and heavy hair is the antithesis of what the hair commercials show us. In order to gain light and flowing hair, adding epsom salt in with your conditioner will enliven your hair and create volume.
One part conditioner
One part epsom salt
1. Combine the conditioner and epsom salt together
2. Apply conditioner as you normally would
3. Leave in the hair for 10-15 minutes and then rinse as normal
Don’t go buying expensive exfoliants when you can DIY your own with epsom salts. Exfoliating the face brightens the texture of your skin, and integrating epsom salts will help prevent breakouts caused by bacteria in the skin.
1/2 teaspoon epsom salt
Face cleansing cream
1. Mix together the epsom salt and cream together in a bowl
2. Apply to skin and exfoliate gently
3. Rinse with cold water
4. Repeat 2-3 times per week
The Spring breeze that still has a tinge of crispness and is beautiful in the morning. However our lips may think differently! Dry and chaffed lips not only feel bad, but they look like we don’t take care of ourselves. Buffing off the dry skin with an epsom scrub will help them to look fuller and more healthy.
1 teaspoon epsom salt
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
Small glass jar
1. Combine the epsom salt and coconut oil in a small glass jar
2. Apply the combination to your lips
3. Gently rub in and leave on
Body scrub and hand exfoliant
You don’t need to go to an expensive spa studio to receive a whole body treatment. Make this DIY home product solution that you can use on your whole body, or just on your hands for a quick pick me up.
2 cups epsom salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
2-3 drops of your favourite essential oil (I like peppermint)
Large glass jar
1. Combine all the ingredients in the glass jar
2. For a body scrub, apply to a body scrubber or use with your hands
3. For your hands apply a small amount and begin to rub together
4. Gently exfoliate the body and hands for several minutes
5. Rinse off to reveal smoother skin
Are your feet feeling tired and sore, or dry and cracked? Create your own at home pedicure utilising epsom salts instead of the mineral-less substances used at the salon! Epsom salt can also improve foot problems like joint pain, swollen feet, foot and toe fungus, and foot odour. For any of these ailments, just use warm water without the soap and repeat until the problem is gone.
1/2 cup epsom salt
Warm soapy water
1. Mix the epsom salt and warm soapy water together
2. Soak your feet for 10 minutes
3. Use a scrubber to clean the feet and attack any dry and cracked areas
4. Soak for another 5 minutes
5. Dry your feet
Tackling the Outdoors
Theres nothing better than being outside as Spring starts to blossom, but there are also sometimes when bringing the outside ‘in’ that can cause some havoc! Epsom salts have a variety of uses to help deal with this, and are a natural remedy.
Recovery after a splinter
When a splinter pierces the skin, it can cause swelling and irritation. Once it is removed, there is often a gaping hole left where the splinter used to be. Epsom salts can help sterilise the area and reduce the symptoms caused from the splinter.
2 tablespoons epsom salt
1 cup cold water
1. Mix together epsom salt and cold water
2. Soak washcloth in mixture
3. Apply washcloth to the affected area
Bug bites (including bees)
When critters give you a bite, it can cause swelling, irritation and infection. The ingredients and process are the same as above. Apply the epsom salt mixture interspersed with ice to soothe the bite.
So you can see that epsom salt is like a jack of all trades! It really has a plethora of uses that can be used in a range of different ways! Enjoy integrating it into your daily routine.