Archive | July, 2012

Dam you flu, dam you!

31 Jul

I’m sick damn it (feel free to insert sympathetic sound here).

This is not how I planned to start my week of hard training and good ol’ fashion awesomeness to erase my weekend misdemeanors.. (yes even I have cheat days!) I forgot how traumatizing it is having the pesky flu! Or could be a bad cold – but flu sounds so much more dramatic and serious don’t you think?!

Anyway, while working from home quarantined from the outside world (and feeling like death), it made me reassess a few things. Firstly, how I got sick in the first place! Well I caught it off the boyfriend (thanks Shaun!) but also because my immune system is currently weak and thus making me susceptible to more bugs.

Why is it low? I’m a healthy gal, I eat clean, I train and do everything right –right? Well I am going to admit it, I did stray from my paleo eating style on the weekend (which is usually ok) but turns out it actually made me physically sick (bad strike one).

Perhaps overtraining without adequate rest days? Double bad strike. And lastly, sleep. I don’t get enough sleep and with all the training, working and general life matters, getting at least 7-8 hours of good sleep a day is really important. It is a chance for your body to fully shut down, restore, regenerate and do all the amazing things it does that only occurs when you are asleep.

So what is my grand master plan?

Task one: Firstly I am going to the shops to by a new box of tissues (sigh).

Then I am going to stock up on healthy fruit and veges and cook up a storm! Preparation is everything and if you have pre-cooked meals to save you time during the week (especially at night), your stress and energy levels will thank you. It also removes temptation to eat crap in moments of weakness.

Another good idea is to actually write out a whole week meal plan to ensure you are not missing out on essential vitamins and minerals like servings of fish and certain vegetables.

Task two: Clean the house.

I mean REALLY clean it. The older I get the less I can handle clutter, mess and germs – Mum would be proud!!

Spring is approaching and there isn’t a better time to throw away/donate unnecessary junk that builds up oh so quickly. Going is all the chipped plates and cups. Going is the really really old mattress and pillows (I mean REALLY old). And going is the equally gross and dirty couch – cream colour did not survive the early days of my puppy… Expensive task ahead but thank god for interest free plans and credit cards (hey this isn’t a finance blog!).

Task three: Disconnect.

This is a hard one to stick to but after a certain time each night (in an ideal world 9pm), all electronics – phones, TV, iPad, iPod, laptop – everything is to be switched off. We are so over stimulated today that we hardly get a chance to fully switch off. It is no surprise that we are sleeping less soundly and insomnia is on the rise.

I could go on with more very important steps but in the sake of staying true to disconnecting – I am keeping the task list at a manageable number of three (hey I’m sick).

If you are feeling a cold or flu approaching you really can kill it early if you get on top of it early, which I apparently did not!

I always favour Olive Leaf Extract aiding my road to recovery, plenty of water and green tea (antioxidants), mountains of vege juice with lemon, ginger, greens, carrots and beetroot and extra Vitamin C. Oh and of course, as much honey and lemon warm water as I can muster! Just remember not to pour boiling water on top of the lemon as it will destroy lots of the good properties.

Now to find those tissues..

Fitness Out of the City (and discovering the ‘Fountain of Youth’..)

27 Jul

Earlier in the year went to Nepal to try and get a quick fix of zen and culture but thanks to a hectic schedule it feels like a lifetime ago!! All I am left with is brief indulging moments staring at my photos remembering the fresh (i.e. freezing) mountain air, the hours of stair climbing, the awesome people I met along the way and the daily yoga practice.

There was one particular yoga session that has stayed with me and I have been meaning to explore. Our teacher (complete with shaved head and permanent content smile) took us through a routine a little different from the modern yoga we have become accustom to called the “Five Tibetan Rites”.

I have read about this simple 2,5000 year old routine in the past but to be able to actually practice this deep in the mountains was kind of perfect.

While demonstrating the movements our teacher told us the five Exercises are for Healing, Rejuvenation, and Longevity and have been practiced by Tibetan monks for centuries helping to keep them youthful.

According to author Peter Kelder who penned the book called ‘The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth’ the benefits of the “Five Tibetan Rites” include

  • Slow aging and turning back the clock (goodby Oil Of Olay..)
  • Increase energy
  • Calm the mind
  • Strengthen the body
  • Improve mental clarity and focus
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve strength and flexibility
  • Improve breathing
  • Strengthen lower back core muscles

Performing the five rites with 21 repetitions each will take you from 10 to 20 minutes, and it is best to do it every day to reap the benefits. If the exercises are done less than six days each week, the results will be greatly reduced (meaning no fountain of youth results.)

If you want to see video demonstrations just type it into youtube, but finding one with out bad music may be a challenge.. here is one I have found that takes you through each movement. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cI39FzXHou8

First Rite

Stand with your arms stretched out at shoulder level and your palms facing down. Look directly ahead and spin in a clockwise direction. Allow your vision to blur when you spin. Breathe in and out deeply as you spin. Stop if you begin to feel dizzy; increase your number of daily spins up to 21 gradually.

Second Rite

Lie flat on your back, face and palms up. Extend your arms and legs fully. Your palms should be pressed against the floor, with your fingers close together. Keeping your legs together, begin to inhale and simultaneously raise your head and legs of the floor. Keep your knees straight. Lift your legs as high as possible toward your head, then relax and slowly lower your legs and head while exhaling. Perform up to 21 repetitions.

Third Rite

Kneel on the floor with spine erect. Position your hands on the sides of your thighs. Drop your head and neck down to your chest, tucking your chin in. Inhale while raising your head and extend your neck and head backward, arching your spine. Support your weight by pressing your hands against your thighs. Return to the starting position, exhaling as you do so. Repeat up to 21 times.

Fourth Rite

Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Your feet should be around shoulder-width apart. Position your hands at the sides of your body, with the palms flat on the ground and fingers pointing forward. Drop your chin toward your chest, begin inhaling and raise your body off the ground, bending your knees as you do so. Your arms should remain straight. Continue to lift your buttocks until your torso and thighs are parallel to the floor. Return to your starting position while exhaling. Repeat the rite up to 21 times.

Fifth Rite

Lie on the floor, with your feet and hands in the same position as if your were to perform pushups. Inhale, while raising your head, supporting your weight with your arms. Only your toes and hands should be touching the floor. Arch your back and tilt your head back as far as possible. While continuing to inhale, raise your hips until your body is in an inverted “V” position. Your legs and back should remain straight. Lower your hips back toward the floor while exhaling. Return to the previous position with your back arched and your head tilted back. Repeat up to 21 times.

So I am not promising you will look 10 years younger but if you do manage to practice this every morning you WILL feel great – it is also perfect for the time poor and less ‘limber’ folks who aren’t ready to face a power yoga class!

Flirting with vitality

11 Jul

I’ve have had commitment issues in the past I’m not going to lie… but there is something which has held my attention for quite some time and keeps me coming back for more.

It’s a little something called Vital Greens.

While I flirt nonchalantly between my other staple products such as fish oil and Vitamin D, my well documented love for the green powder is a keeper and I won’t stray.

Here is why:  Vital Greens is a nutrient and enzyme-rich, complete “Superfood’ that is an energizing, cleansing, alkaline-promoting, all in-one nutritional supplement.

Why this is this combo so important to me?

I lead a pretty busy and hectic life (hello early morning PT sessions followed by a day of work, training, writing , more working and probably not going to bed early enough..) so I need something that energies and supports my system – and that isn’t called caffeine…

I can literally feel every glass full working to my benefit – especially since I made such a conscious effort to take it daily (and sometimes twice daily).

My head is less foggy, my skin is clearer, my tummy isn’t bloated anymore and I have been waking up at 5am with the energy to train myself before I train my clients (and if you know me that is a huge feat!).

One key influencer that bought us closer together was my trip to Nepal. My trusted travel sachets of Vital Greens and I trekked 8 hours uphill everyday for 9 whole days, full of energy and not getting sick once -while everyone around me was dropping like flies!

What else do I love?

  • Most of the bulk ingredients are certified organic or of natural origin.
  • It has a comprehensive formula of 76 vital ingredients (and if you want to learn about every each herb this site here lists them individually with explanations.).
  • Vital Greens includes all the products I used to take separately like Spirulina, Chlorella and Wheatgrass – so I am saving money on buying just one super product.
  • It is balanced with antioxidants and immune supporting herbs (such as astragals root, green tea, shitake mushroom) so I found since taking Vital Greens consistently for the last year (instead of occasionally over 3) I don’t catch every cold and flu going around, and who doesn’t love less sick days!
  • It contains digestive enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics (hello healthy inside and colon).
  • It is alkaline forming – super important for healthy digestion and bowels (and aiming for an alkaline system is especially important if you eat a high protein diet like I do).
  • It is designed to curb the appetite (with artichoke powder, green tea and other ingredients) so it’s perfect for my afternoon Vital Protein/Vital Green shake snack before gym session.
  • It’s high in iron and protein (which makes it perfect for vegetarians too).
  • It taste good which is an important quality in a powder (and if you are not sold on the flavour, try it in juice or smoothie rather than plain water.)

Don’t believe me? My clients are fans too:

“I cannot live without my greens, and I have found Vital Greens to be the superior product on the Australian market. I literally feel the spirulina and chlorella hit my cells, which is the perfect compliment to my nutritional cleansing lifestyle! I have all of my clients on Vital Greens for that extra hit of alkalising nutrients! Lee provides product super quick on request too, which I love!!” Emilie Tonkin, www.emilietonkin.isagenix.com

 ‘Living and working in Sydney has many benefits, but the big city life can be hard to keep up with. Trying to balance a hectic work schedule and a growing social life is hard enough – without having to worry about finding time to keep healthy. Thankfully, at least the early morning rush of trying to throw something together before running out the door has been made easy, and healthy, with the discovery of Vital Greens. My partner and I have been benefiting from all the goodness of Vital Greens for the past 12 months. Mixed in simple fruit smoothies, Vital Greens fuels us for the entire morning and we have the energy to tackle the day…..and the city! I would recommend this product to everyone!’  Darren Duke

“I’m 30 now and having been playing AFL foofball for 22 years and it’s getting harder to recover and have the energy to get the day after a game or training. Since I have started taking Vitals Greens (before the game and in the mornings) I have found I have more energy and more go. I just add it my protein shakes and I’m good to go!’ Shaun Silver

So what are you waiting for, put a spring in your step, ward off winter bugs and get into this green liquid gold!!

Here is a nice little raw recipe to try using Vital Greens and a mix of other superfoods:

Vitality Balls 

              

35 pitted dates

¼ cup chia seeds (black and white mixed)

¼ cup sesame seeds – grind half in mortar and pestle and keep other half whole

¼ cup desiccated coconut

¼ cup walnuts and seeds of your choice.

1/3 cup raw cacao powder

3 tablespoons Vital Greens

3 tablespoons Vital Protein

3 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons tahini (preferably unhulled)

2 tablespoons ABC spread (combined almonds, Brazil, cashews)

1. Soak dates overnight.

2. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl chia seeds, sesame seeds, nuts/seeds, Vital Greens and Vital Protein, desiccated coconut, and cacao powder.

3. Either put softened dates in a food processor or alternatively chop dates into small pieces into a separate bowl. (fyi a food processor does makes your life easier with this recipe!)

4. Add honey, tahini, and nut spread to the chopped dates (either combine in food processor, or combine in the bowl with the dates).

5. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing as you go. You just need it at a consistency that will hold the dry ingredients together, so you may need to vary quantities as you see fit.

6. Using your hands, form into individual balls about 3cm diameter. Roll in extra coconut or crushed nuts  if you wish!

Enjoy  x

Happiness: Winter, Fitness and Paleo (carrot-cake) pancakes

6 Jul

Winter in Sydney this year is agreeing with me. Shocking right?!

Normally I would be complaining and hiding under my warm blankets waiting for the warmer days to return, but not this time.

With the rain I have found a new sense of contentment. I am waking up before most of the city has even contemplated opening their eyes.  I train myself, then I teach a class or private PT session, I race home to prepare my paleo meals for the day, work, eat, perhaps do another quick strength session, teach another class, catch up with friends/boyfriend/family after work, then cook dinner, and write some articles before bed ready to do it all over again the following day!

Exhausting to type, but surprisingly not so exhausting to do!

Why and how is this routine working you may ask? Eating clean brings energy and balance, training brings the same while cooking and play time brings happiness – so together the synergy just works and balances one another. If my diet was bad, processed and full of sugar it would decrease my energy, my hormones and mood would be terrible so I would bitch instead of train and good luck trying to wake me up.

I look back and feel bad for the former years I may have wasted sitting and waiting.

The moral of the story (if there is one..) don’t wait to start things. You can look back in a year and be happy you made the changes towards a healthier lifestyle.  Or, you can look back in a year and regret that haven’t started yet.

Below is my weekend winter reward treat – so delish and quick to whip up!

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Paleo Carrot-Cake Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of grated carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (or pecans)
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg (I usually add more than this though!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon stevia
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • Once cooked plate up and top with a tablespoon of coconut butter and maple syrup – DELISH!!

Instructions

1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl

* almond meal

* coconut flour

* baking soda and powder

* spice

2. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly

* carrots, eggs

* coconut milk

* coconut oil

3. Heat a large frypan up under medium-high heat and use coconut oil to grease the surface. Don’t be shy with the oil here you don’t want it to stick!

4. Pour batter into piping hot frypan. Cook on both sides for 3 or so minutes.

5. Top pancakes off with coconut butter and maple syrup.

Makes approx 4 pancakes.

This fab recipe was originally sourced via http://paleomg.com (but I have made a couple of Fitness In The City style amendments and inclusions!)

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