Sleep

A good night’s sleep is something to treasure.  However, often you don’t appreciate it until it’s just not happening. 

A good night’s sleep is precious.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Adults need, on average 7-8hours of sleep (& I am talking the restful stuff) each night.

Hmm, need some tips?

😴 Create a routine you can stick to every day

It should include a wind down prior to bed, going to bed & sleeping, as well as waking the same time each morning.  Oh, & avoid those cheeky little Nana naps!

😴 NO electronics within 60min of bedtime

💡 Turn off the TV, stop checking your phone &/or computers. 

💡 Use it as part of your nightly wind down, have a bath, read a book, put out your clothes for tomorrow, pack a lunch or prep brekky.

😴 Yoga sleep poses

💡 Try some stretches 10-30 minutes prior to bed.  This helps with stiff joints, especially the hips & back.

😴 Create an inviting place to sleep.

💡 Turn down the temperature.  A cooler room temperature will make your body temperature drop, which will make you sleepier.

💡 Make it dark. Eliminate any lights (phones, routers, even streetlights – try block out curtains).

💡 Some people also like soothing sounds to help them fall asleep.  Who doesn’t love the sound of rain on the roof!

💡 Even smell can play a role, so perhaps try an essential oil diffuser or even a pillow spray.

😴 Avoid alcohol & caffeine

💡 They both dehydrate you, so make your last one 2-3hours prior to bed.

💡 Try herbal teas or a golden milk instead.

😴 A shower or bath before bed will help to relax you.

😴 In the morning make sure you get at least 10 minutes of sunlight. 

💡 It is the sunlight hitting your eyes, which helps to regulate your circadian cycle (your sleep/wake cycle).

😴 Morning exercise is also a great addition to your routine.

Poor sleep can negatively impact our lives in many ways.  It increases our appetites & our weight, in addition to reducing will power.  Catching quality zzzz’s is important for physical & mental health.

#SelfCareSunday #Life101 #Recharge #MentalHealth #ConsciouslyNutritious

Be an Active Listener

We have all been in those convos where the other person was listening but not really listening.  To be an active listener is an amazing skill, which everyone can gain BUT it does take time, energy & practice.

Need some tips?

⭐️ Be present

I know it sounds incredibly easy, but you need to pay attention & immerse yourself in the conversation.  You can’t just tune in for the highlights, you need to listen to the other person’s story or point of view.  It is also a great idea to ask if they need advice or just to be heard.

⭐️ Wait & Listen

Often people want to show they are listening by jumping in & adding thoughts or an experience.  In reality it is redirecting the conversation.  So, just wait your turn – watch for facial expressions & body language, as your cues.  Listen for the main points of what is being said & ask questions to deepen your understanding.

⭐️ Learn

I was once told active listening is about learning.  I believe this has an element of truth, if you want to take the conversation further sometimes you need to find out more information.  Summarise what you learnt in the conversation, to check your understanding is clear. Take a mental note of anything you want to look into further or anything that piqued your interest or curiosity.

⭐️ Research

If something in a conversation did catch your attention, check it out further.  There are loads of resources available to us: google, books, podcasts (just check your source is legitimate & reliable).  If an article was shared with you – read it & let them know what your thought in your next convo.

⭐️ Ideas can change

Sometimes you can enter a convo with one idea, but it can change.  Being an active listener means listening ideas which may be different to your own & sometimes new ideas align better with your thoughts.  Take the opportunity to hear new ideas, think about them & sometimes change your mind.

New ideas can come from so many different places.
Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

⭐️ Reflection

By thinking about ideas, seeking more information & reflecting – you can be part of a solution.  If you don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle, it is harder to fix.  Reflecting back to the person what has been said, as an example “that sounds like it left you confused (or angry / happy)…”

Be an active listener, it really will be a great skill & can be utilised in all aspects of your life.  Sometimes they just need to be heard & that is OK, too.

#MentalHealth #Life101 #HolisticHealth #NotAllEqual #ConsicouslyNutritious

Lentils

Honestly, these offer bang for your buck when it comes to protein (over 25%) & they are rich in satiating fibre.  Lentils are also rich in B vitamins, magnesium, iron, zinc & potassium.  Yup, this plant-based food source has got a lot going for it.

We did not really have these growing up, so I am a bit late to the game on this one.  Bearing this in mind, I thought I’ would give you the low down on what I’ve found.

Often there are a few types at the store, but they pretty much fall into 3 main categories.

⭐️ Brown

Pretty common.  They have a mild flavour & hold their shape during cooking.  I add these to meat dishes (THINK spag bog or shepherd’s pie).  They are also great as a vego option too (delish in lettuce wraps with some salad).  They have an earthy flavour.

⭐️ Green

This would be my preference to use in salads as it is a stronger flavour which is often described as peppery.  These vary in size, unlike the Puy lentils which are approx. 1/3  the size of green lentils.  Just as an aside Puy lentils originate from the le Puy region in France & also have a peppery flavour profile.

⭐️ Red or yellow

These are “split” which means they are cut into smaller pieces.  These are a sweeter, nuttier flavour.  As they are smaller, they cook faster (makes sense right).  I often use red lentils in soups or stews to boost the fibre & thicken a soup or stew.  These are often used in dal/dahl.

An easy add to soups, stews & curries.
Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

OK, so you can now recognise what you are buying BUT how do you see it in the shop?  There are 2 options.

⭐️ Tinned. 

Just drain & rinse … easy peasey.

⭐️ Dried.

This means a little amount of prep, but still an easy process.

Give the legumes a good rinse in a colander under cold running water& remove any discoloured or broken ones.  Soak lentils overnight in acidic water (THINK lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, use approx. 2 tbspn acid : 1 cup lentils).  Just leave covered in a bowl on the countertop.  Not everyone does this, it is an optional step which has benefits twofold – it will reduce the cooking time & make digesting them loads easier.  Sounds like a good deal to me! 

Then, drain & rinse in fresh water.  Tip into a pot with plenty of water & bring to the boil (skimming off any scum on the surface).  Reduce the heat & simmer until tender.  FYI: unsoaked approx. 15-20 min.

#GetWise #EasyPeasey #GutHealth #Vego #Life101 #ConsciouslyNutritious

Silver Beet

First blog of the month, so of course, a new recipe to share.  Silver beet (AKA chard) is often found in home vegie patches. Why? Because it is super easy to grow.  It is rich in vitamins A, B6, C & K, as well as folate.  It is towards the end of its Australian growing season – so you may be looking for a new idea to try out.  This is a super easy option.  It is a great accompaniment to a meat dish but perfectly OK to stand by itself as a main.  Oh, & for the win – it’s delish!

Always looks so pretty!
Image source: The Seed Collection

Rainbow Silver beet with Rice

Source: The Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos

Serves: 2 as a main / 4 as aside

Great for: Mediterranean style, vego

Ingredients:

✅ 2 tbspn extra virgin olive oil

✅ 1 red onion, chopped

✅ 1 clove garlic, chopped

✅ 1kg rainbow silver beet, roughly chopped

✅ 1 cup pureed tomato

✅ 1 cup water

✅ ½ cup rice

✅ Red chilli, finely sliced – optional

Method:

⭐️ Heat oil in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat.  Sauté onion & garlic until they are translucent.

⭐️ Add the silver beet (& chilli if desired), sauté a further 2-3 minutes or until silver beet is wilted.

⭐️ Add tomato puree & water, stir well.  Bring to the boil, then simmer uncovered for approx. 5 minutes. 

⭐️ Add rice & simmer for a further 10-15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.

⭐️ Remove from heat & allow to stand for 5 minutes prior to serving.

Easy, healthy & delish – what a combo!

#SelfCareSunday #Recipe #MedInspo #Vego #DairyFree #GlutenFree #EatWell #LiveWell #ConsciouslyNutritious

Self-care tips

Yup, it is a super important skill to add into your life.  Sometimes however it can also look very practical as you set up your future self with some practical kindness.

Let me put it another way – reading a book or eating chocolate all day, isn’t going to help you out when you haven’t had a shower in 3 days & have dishes piled in the sink, plus all your clothes heaped up in the laundry.  Yup, it’s a moderation thing & that can be the tricky part. 

Those used cups stack up pretty quick! Photo by Izz R on Unsplash

It is important to take care of yourself but you also need to tackle your surroundings to help out future you. 

💧 Honestly you are probably not drinking enough water.  Grab at least 2x 1L bottles, fill them both.  Drink one in the morning & the other in the afternoon.  Do it again tomorrow (& the next day).  It is fabulous for your skin but also great for everything inside (remember you are pretty much 65% water).

🍴 Have you been eating well?  Did you have breakfast?  You need to fuel your body if you expect it to work.  Get in some fruit & vege, some protein, carbs & good fats.

👉 Household chores…sigh!  Still wearing yesterday’s clothes – do some laundry.  Then tackle those dishes still in the sink, wash them up whilst the laundry load goes through.  Then open your windows & let the fresh air in…maybe even get a little wild & light a scented candle.

🚿 Always rushing through the shower?  Take a non-rushed shower with cold water to wake you up & boost circulation or warm water to relax those muscles.

📞 Return that one phone call.  It is soooo easy to avoid ‘that’ call (for days).  Set yourself a time limit, say 10 minutes & just make the call.

☀️ Go outside.  Get out there for at least 10 minutes a day to start.  Breathe in some fresh air.  Whether you go for a walk or just sit in the sun – that vitamin D will feel good & some deep breathes of fresh air will make you feel great.

Practical tips for sure, but they do pave the way for a better you.  Tackle one thing at a time.  Future you will love it!

#SelfCare #Life101 #Mindfulness #MentalHealth #HolisticHealth #ConsciouslyNutritious

Body Brushing

Heard of it, but don’t know what it is?  It is an everyday way to add ‘detoxing’ into your life.  It is a technique to remove dead skin build up & it stimulates the lymphatic system (which helps with elimination of waste).

There are loads of benefits to be had!

The brushing helps to speed up the elimination process as it stimulates the lymph.  OK, so lymph what does the lymph do?  It transfers toxins to the bloodstream for elimination it.  The lymph doesn’t have a “pump” like the heart for the circulatory system (so a little help doesn’t go astray).  The lymph system depends on contraction of muscles.  This happens with breathing, exercise, or manual stimulation – such as brushing.

What you need & how to do it:
• You will need a firm but soft, natural fibre brush, ideally with a long handle so you can easily reach your back (unless you are a bit flexible). I picked one up at Priceline pretty easy.
• You only brush on dry skin with the dry bristles of the brush.
• Stroking towards the heart which encourages the lymph flow to the main lymphatic ducts. A great rule of thumb is to always brush towards the centre of the body.
• Where skin is thinner, use softer strokes, but where skin is thicker EG: your legs & thighs, use firmer strokes. Makes sense.
• I like to do my body brushing before I have a shower or bath & then slap on some moisturiser.

Some don’ts:
Avoid your sensitive bits (breasts & genitalia).
Avoid if you have sensitive skin, a history of eczema or any other skin conditions, this may flare it up.
Avoid using on open wounds, inflamed or sunburnt skin, rashes or varicose veins.
Avoid if in an active cancer state or have enlarged lymph nodes.

An easy to follow guide.

For me, I like how it makes my skin feel – plus if it is setting up for a better detox, that is a double win.  It’s easy, doesn’t take long & is cheap – def worth a try I think.

#LoveIt #Detox #BodyBrushing #HappyHealthyPeople #ConsciouslyNutritious

Well hello Sunshine 🌞 😊

Seriously how good is this weather! Vitamin D has some pretty impressive effects on the body. Sadly, a lot of people are currently vitamin D deficient.

Sunshine makes life happy!

Photo by Laura Pratt on Unsplash

Lifestyles are just more indoors now, often – we work indoors & weekends involve more indoor activities, or for the southern states there is less sunshine during the day in winter.  Even the ‘slip slop slap’ campaign plays a role as people cover up a bit more & wear sunscreen more.  There are loads more reasons, but you get the idea.

Bottom line is you have to get some vitamin D.  I try to work it into the day with 2x 10min ‘outings’ in the sun, when on breaks either in the garden or even a walk around the block.  I try to go mid-morning or late afternoon, not around midday (stay sensible, peeps).

Just a couple of reasons why vitamin D is important?
🌞 Assists in protection against dementia – even a moderate deficiency can increase dementia risks.
🌞 Stay slimmer – early morning sun exposure helps regulate your internal body clock, which regulates your metabolism, which in turn influences weight gain.
🌞 Lowers your blood pressure – the sun exposure helps with a pressure reducing compound which is released into your blood vessels

So, go & soak up some sunshine.

#SunshineIsMedicine #Why #Wellness #HappyHealthyPeople #ConsciouslyNutritious

School is back in session

Are you loosing the battle with motivation for lunchboxes?  Whether you are packing lunches for your munchkins or yourself – it is easy to get caught up in the same old lunch routine.  Mix it up & try something new.

⭐️ Vege quiches – try eggs, grated zucchini & carrot, with a grated cheese topping

⭐️ Vege fritters – try eggs with grated carrots, corn, peas, & some spring onions.

⭐️ Leftovers THINK roast meat & vege; or meatballs in a wrap with some spinach or beetroot; with avo or humus as a spread rather than butter.

⭐️ Pasta salad, try wholemeal with tuna, fetta, olives, cherry tomatoes & parsley.

If you have a thermos, try some warm options:

⭐️ Fried rice

⭐️ Soup

⭐️ Spag bog

⭐️ Leftovers from last night > love me some LO roast vege!

Of course, you will also need snacks:

⭐️ Boiled eggs

⭐️ Trail mix – Nuts (if allowed) OR seeds THINK pumpkin seeds (maybe roasted) or sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, sultanas & popcorn

⭐️ Vege sticks – THINK carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, capsicum, snow peas with hummus or salsa

⭐️ Fruit – THINK bananas, apples, mandys, strawberries or grapes

Some new ideas for inspiration
Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

#LunchboxInspo #MovingForward #GoFor2And5 #VarietyIsKing #HappyHealthyLife #ConscisouslyNutritious

New Habits

OK, this year hasn’t really gone to plan (but I don’t think I’m alone with that).  So, I’m using the new financial year, as a new year.  I have been reading up on new habits & making them stick.  Here is the best advice I found.

Hmm, maybe I need a super cute reminder like this on my desk.
Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash

Make it Easy

I am going to focus on showing up.  What do I mean by that?  Well, if I aim to say, exercise in 10-minute blocks, there is more chance I will do that.  Maybe 10 in the morning & another 10 in the afternoon, rather than an hour every second day.  Just showing up will help with the consistency of doing something.

Make it obvious AKA environment matters

Make sure there are prompts for you to follow, a sign if you like.  If your routine is the same as it has always been, nothing will change.  Those same cues & triggers will make you fall back into those same bad habits.

Need to drink more water, carry your water bottle with you – you will be more likely to drink from it.

Forgetting to take your vitamins or supplements, put them with your breakfast stuff to remind you to take them.

Clear that clutter, from your desk, from your cupboard, even your dining room table or kitchen bench. 

Make it satisfying

What is rewarded, is repeated; or alternatively, what is immediately punished is avoided.  When I say rewarded it is obviously not big things, but small satisfactory points along a journey.

I love a list & I love crossing stuff off it – it gives me a sense of satisfaction.

I also love sitting in the sun & reading, so maybe a treat after some computer work; similarly, a shower after a long walk soothes the muscles. All things to look forward too.

By rewarding yourself in small ways, you are more likely to follow through, as well as increasing your self-esteem & self-motivation.

#JulyGoals #SmallSteps #Motivation #YouCanDoThis #MovingForward #ConsicouslyNutritous

💡 Portions and Measurements 🤷🏻‍♀‍

OK – the more food on your plate or the more drink in your cup – the more you will eat… yup, sounds legit.  However, portion sizes are getting bigger & so is the number of overweight or obese people – sadly also sounds about right.

It is super easy to get big portions these days & quite frankly, it’s very easy to lose perspective on portion sizes.  I know I don’t have a set of measuring cups in my handbag (sure lots of other stuff but no measuring cups)!  BUT I can visualise portions using my hands as a guide – & for the win – it’s personalised & I always have them with me!

It is true some people have bigger hands (& some smaller), but your hand size will generally correlate to your general body size.

🖐🏾 Palm = protein portions
Use the same thickness & diameter as your palm
THINK: meat, fish, eggs, dairy or legumes (beans)

✊🏾 Fist = veggie portions
Again, use the same thickness & diameter of your fist
THINK: veggies like broccoli, spinach, salad, carrots

✋🏾 Cupped hand = carb portions
THINK: grains, rice, starches incl root veggies, or fruits

👉🏾 Index finger – good fat portions
THINK: olive oil, butters incl nut butters, nuts & seeds

It’s an easy & great starting point for portion control 👏🏻👏🏻

Hands, a convenient measuring device…easy peasey!

Source: www.HealthyKidsToday.org

#EasyPeasey #Nutrition #NotAllEqual  #Wellness #PortionControl  #SelfCareSunday #ConsciouslyNutritous