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    3 Simple Ways to Achieve Your Health Goals This Year

    3 Simple Ways to Achieve Your Health Goals This Year 

    The truth is that it is hard to keep goals! Especially when they are vague, too grand or not time appropriate.

    Stay focused and on track for optimum wellness with these three strategies for keeping and achieving your goals this year. They may be a little different to the strategies you usually hear about, but they are equally as important

    1. A good social support network

    Feeling like your part of a community or having a sense of belonging impacts greatly on your emotions and mental health, by reducing stress and feelings of seclusion. After all, who wants to do hard work in isolation? It is incredibly difficult…we all need advice, help, a different perspective, resources and guidance to help us stay on the right path. A social network might include friends, family, peers, co-workers, mentors, even a health professional who supports you…anyone who adds value to your life.

    2. Stop comparing your results and accomplishments with that of others

    If we all had the same accomplishments, it would be a very boring world! Celebrate your uniqueness and be proud of your achievements – as the most important person in your life is YOU.

    Live by this quote: “Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to the person you were yesterday.” ~ Anonymous.

    3. Document your goals and progress

    This is helpful so that you can revisit and reassess them – visualising our goals often and seeing them written down can do wonders, as it makes them seem more real and tangible. Placing your written goals in areas where you can visualise them every day is greatly helpful as well – on your desk, computer, in your bathroom, on the fridge, as a constant reminder of what you are going to achieve.

     

    Nutrition Spotlight: Quinoa vs Brown Rice

    Nutrition Spotlight: Quinoa vs Brown Rice

    Quinoa (Keen-wah) (1 cup): 222 calories, 39g carbs, 8g protein, 5g fibre, 53 glycaemic index, rich in antioxidants and minerals.                                               

    Brown Rice (1 cup): 216 calories, 44g carbs, 5g protein, 3.5g fibre, 50 glycaemic index, rich in antioxidants and minerals.

    When choosing a nutritious complex carb to balance out your meal, quinoa and brown rice are both great options. Both are packed full of antioxidants and minerals, healthy carbs and adequate fibre to help support a healthy digestion, keep you fuller for longer, and help curb cravings and keep you on track with your goals!

    Quinoa comes from the flowering plant of the amaranth family and it’s the seeds of the plant that we use. Quinoa is unique because it is a plant-based complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 amino acids that our body needs and does not make itself. Because it’s a complete protein, you don’t need to worry about protein combining. Quinoa is also a good source of minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc. For a higher protein side that is a little bit lighter than brown rice and cooks quicker, quinoa may be the perfect option for you!

    Brown rice contains minerals like phosphorous, manganese, selenium and magnesium. It also contains antioxidants like phenols and flavonoids which help protect the body from oxidative stress (which is a crucial factor in the development of chronic diseases). Like quinoa, it has a high fibre content which helps to keep you satisfied between meals, reducing the need for cravings and snacking, and supporting weight loss. Fiber also helps to keep food moving through the digestive tract, while certain forms of fiber called prebiotics feed and nourish the good bacteria in your gut, which is what we want!

    A balanced meal of a protein (either animal or plant-based), a serve of brown rice or quinoa and some fiber-rich veggies makes for a pretty impressive dish, nutrition wise. Quinoa and brown rice are perfect for grain bowls, salads, snack bars, burgers, and heaps more things. Quinoa can even be used to make breakfast bowls, by using it instead of oats, with some maple, cinnamon and fresh fruit – yum!

    Why do we love quinoa and brown rice?

    Ok, so I guess it's not really a battle because we picked two of our winning grains. But certainly we choose these as the winners over other grains like... processed wheat e.g. couscous.  In the battle of quinoa versus cous cous, Quinoa wins hands down!

    We love it because it’s gluten-free, fodmap-friendly, nutritious, it supports healthy digestion and it’s packed full of minerals and fibre.

    Have you tried and loved any of our meals with quinoa or brown rice? We’ve been loving our Massaman Chicken Curry with Quinoa and our Mushroom Bourguignon with Brown Rice 😋 

    Nutritious and Fun School Lunchbox Ideas

    How to pack a healthy school lunch box: Cheat sheet

    Start the new year with healthy school lunches to keep your children (or you!) energised all day long

    Secrets of a Nutritious Balanced Lunchbox:

    • Unprocessed carbohydrates for energy, vitamins, minerals and fibre
    • Protein for brain power and to fill them up between meals
    • Fruit and vegetables (essential!)
    • Water to keep them hydrated

    Snack:

    Choose 2 (add fruit or veg daily as one of the options - think quick and easy to eat)

    • Fresh fruit (chopped or peeled or easy to eat, that doesn’t bruise easily e.g. grapes, strawberries, peeled mandarin, small apple, watermelon slices, blue berries)
    • Rice crackers and hummus or other dip
    • Cheese and crackers
    • Snack container of baked beans with a fork
    • Popcorn
    • Corn on the cob
    • Yoghurt
    • Cheese wedge
    • Cherry tomatoes
    • Baby cucumber
    • Boiled egg - peeled
    • Falafels
    • Meatballs and tomato sauce
    • Biltong

     

    Main lunch:

    Think protein and healthy carbs

    Choose 1 different option every day to prevent a monotonous diet and to ensure the rotation of grains

    • Pesto pasta with nut free pesto and gluten free pasta (remember to pack a fork!)
    • Sushi
    • Hummus and salad wrap
    • Chicken drumsticks and veggie sticks (carrot, cucumber, celery, capsicum, broccoli) and dipping sauce (pesto or tomato sauce or mayo)
    • Tuna pasta (tuna, capsicum, cucumber, tomato, pasta) - remember the fork!
    • Rice and bean salad
    • Ham and cucumber sandwich (rye bread)
    • Macaroni cheese – remember the fork!
    • Quiche or frittata
    • Turkey wrap
    • Healthy nachos - Corn chips, refried beans dip, guacamole dip and salsa
    • Pizza roll
    • Zucchini slice
    • Spaghetti bolognaise
    • Egg, mayo and lettuce sandwich

     

    Treat:

    Think small (you want them to be hungry enough to fill up on the nourishing food)

    • Bag of crisps
    • Fruit juice
    • Chocolate
    • Natural confectionary snake lolly
    • Biscuit
    • Muffin
    • Cupcake
    • Piece of cake
    • Banana bread
    • Muesli bar
    • Home baked slice

     

    Note:

    Allergies: Most schools have a no nut policy, but if your school doesn't of course nuts make a great snack and peanut butter sandwiches are always popular too!

    10 Scientific Ways to Increase Happiness

    10 Scientific Ways to Increase Happiness
     
    The desire to be happy seems to be nearly universal. However, the path to happiness can sometimes feel long and difficult, with obstacles and life events getting in the way. Fortunately, happiness is a popular area of study among researches and as it turns out, you really don’t need to do that much to feel a little bit happier.
     
    Here are 10 practical, science-backed ways to feel happier:
     

    1. Get more sleep or take a nap: research has shown that 8 hours of sleep per night increases optimism and sociability. Well rested people are happier – it’s true!
    2. Get outside: exposure to sunlight is our number one source of vitamin D and deficiency has been linked to depression. The combination of fresh air, sunlight and nature will do you a world of good.
    3. Practice self-care on a daily basis: Remember to take care of yourself. Regular actions of self-care can improve your overall long-term health and happiness.
    4. Sweat it out! Exercise releases endorphins, which are mood-boosting chemicals. 
    5. Meditate: Studies have shown a link between regular meditation practices and reduced anxiety/depression symptoms.
    6. Daily gratitude journal: writing things down helps to solidify them in our brains, so journaling about why you are grateful can help you realise the good things you have around you, which can be a huge mood booster.
    7. Smile more! Research has shown that smiling during difficult or stressful situations can have a calming effect.
    8. Load up on nutrients: Fruits and vegetables are abundant in vitamins and minerals that ward off symptoms of depression and make us healthier overall.
    9. Spend time with people who make you happy: a healthy social life is associated with greater happiness and increased mental and physical health.
    10. Listen to your favourite music: Jamming out to music can help reduce stress, leading to greater happiness in general. 

    How can Allergies and Food Intolerances Affect Your Weight?

    How can Allergies and Food Intolerances Affect Your Weight?
    "Hidden or delayed food allergies (and their associated malnutrition) may be the single most common factor in binge eating, overeating, depressed metabolic rate, and obesity."
    (Dr Braly)
     
    Allergens and food intolerances can affect our weight because they can lead us to crave the culprit (food you may be sensitive too), which can lead to a type of addiction syndrome that can cause overeating.
     
    This "addiction syndrome" develops initially as a protective response from the body. Allergens often cause inflammation, malnutrition, a heightened overactive immune system, digestive discomfort and tissue damage. In reaction to an "invader" (food allergen) the immune cells bind defensively to the foreign particles. The body may also release substances (natural painkillers) to ease the discomfort of this stress response. Consequently, we may misleadingly start to associate eating the foods with pain relief or even pleasure (produced by this release of endorphin and "opiate like" substances).  
     
    By avoiding foods my clients are sensitive or intolerant to, they have often shifted up to 4 kgs in a week (this is mainly because of inflammation caused by food sensitivities). The biggest challenge occurs when it’s the foods you love that may be causing the problems. But remember that there are always alternatives and ways to still enjoy yummy food without the side effects!
     
    Symptoms you might look for: itchy or runny nose, postnasal drip, headaches, bloating, diarrhea, sneezing, eczema, rash, swelling, ringing in the ears, aches, pains, cravings, poor weight management (failure to gain weight and failure to lose weight).