News — #Covid19

Five Reasons to Work Out (not related to weight loss or appearance)

 

 

The number one reason that people workout is to lose weight or to look good, but the truth is that there are so many other benefits of moving your body and being physically active. Once you start to shift your mindset to one that’s more focussed on feeling good rather than looking good, you’ll start to see exercise as more fun and enjoyable which will help you get into a healthy cycle of motivation, energy and accomplishment.

 1. Improves your mental health

Exercise releases endorphins which are neurochemicals that affect our brain and our mood. Regular movement helps to regulate our moods, relieve anxiety and depression, boost our energy and improve our focus.

 2. Improves your sleep

Better sleep helps with stress management, boosts our mood and gives our brain quality time to reset, which helps with learning and memory.

 3. Self-esteem

Regular movement that you love doing helps to release all those happy chemicals. Getting stronger and fitter helps us to feel proud, accomplished and empowered.

 4. Improves your long term health

Regular physical activity gives us a healthier heart (reduces our risk of cardiovascular diseases), stronger lungs (reduces our risk of cardiorespiratory diseases), improves our posture (which improves our confidence), improves our bone health (reduces our risk of injury) and gives us a better quality of life.

 5. Boosts your lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is a network of tissues, vessels and organs that help to rid the body of toxins and unwanted materials. Movement and contractions of the muscles stimulate the lymphatic system to pump fluid around your body, which helps to cleanse, detox and boost your immune system. A healthier immune system means less colds and illnesses and a reduced risk of cancer and other diseases.

 

So find your groove with the type of movement that you love doing and you will see how wonderfully beneficial moving your body can be!

 

 

Author:
Lisa Cutforth
B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness

Self-Care to-do List: Self-care ideas for when you have 5, 15 or 30 minutes

 

It’s true, taking care of yourself is the kindest thing you can do. Nurturing your body, mind and soul with self-care activities helps to add a sense of calm to your life, recharges your mental batteries and helps to create joy within yourself.

There are four different types of self-care:

Physical: taking care of your physical body (e.g. physical movement, stretching, healthy food).

Emotional: activities that help you connect, process and reflect on your emotions (e.g. kindness, stress management, journaling).

Social: activities that nurture your relationships with the people you love (e.g. time together, having strong support systems)

Spiritual: activities that revolve around your values (doesn’t have to be religious, can also be activities that nurture your internal thinking or your sense of perspective). For example: time alone, meditation, time in nature).

You may find it easier to look after certain aspects of your self-care than others, but it is important to create a balance by working on them all.

Do you allow yourself “me” time each day? Indulging in just 15 minutes of self-care a day can make a huge difference. We’ve put together a list of different self-care activities you can do – for when you have 5, 15 or 30 minutes of spare time.

Self-care for when you only have 5 minutes:

  • Take a few deep "self regulating" breaths...with a longer exhale than inhale..like a long slow sigh
  • Self check in - check in with yourself - “how are you feeling?”  - label a feeling. 
  • Listen to your favourite song
  • Stretch your body
  • Sit in the sun
  • Smile!
  • Compliment someone
  • If you need to, have a good cry (and use the expensive tissues!)
  • Give a loved one a hug
  • Forgive yourself for what you couldn’t do today

 

Self-care for when you only have 15 minutes:

  • Sit down, and have a tea, coffee, water and chillax
  • Read a chapter of your book
  • Organise your desk
  • Pat a furry friend
  • Pamper yourself (shower/bath with candles, give yourself a mani/pedi, wash and blow dry your hair) 
  • Call someone you love
  • Watch a funny YouTube clip
  • Make your bed – fresh sheets!

 

Self-care for when you have 30 minutes:

  • Take a walk outside - or a run or a swim
  • Cook a new recipe - find one that can be prepared in a short time
  • Take a nap
  • Do a guided meditation
  • Do a gentle yoga class
  • Unplug from technology and do an activity that involves repetition to promote calm (e.g. folding laundry).
  • Make something without caring if it’s “good” or not (e.g. knitting, baking, painting)

 

 

Author:
Lisa Cutforth
B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness

10 Practical Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holiday Season

 

Holidays are usually a busy time of the year, with lots of family gatherings, Christmas get-togethers and holiday traditions. Just because your schedule might seem a little more “full” than usual and your routine may be out of whack, it doesn’t mean that you have to kiss your healthy lifestyle goodbye! Sure, being surrounded by yummy holiday sweets and treats for a whole month can make it easy for your healthy habits to slip, but keeping your goals on track during the holidays is doable (with a little flexibility, which is absolute key. Click here to read our latest article on 3 healthy mindset changes to make during the holidays).

We’ve put together 10 practical tips that will help to keep your healthy habits on track this Christmas season. 

1. Be prepared. Prep ahead of the holiday season so that your house is filled with yummy wonderful healthy options. If you’re strapped for time, order a box of freezer-friendly Wholesomeness meals to set you up for success before the busy holiday season starts.

2. Eat before you go. This is a great tip to avoid turning up to a celebration ravenously starving, ready to devour anything in sight. Make a quick smoothie at home beforehand or grab a Wholesomeness snack from your freezer for a nutritious pick-me-up.

3. Be a great guest. Be a great party guest and bring a plate of something yummy and healthy that you made at home (like a huge salad or a delicious grazing plate with homemade dip and veggie sticks). That way, you’ll know for sure that there will something healthy to eat while you’re there.

4. Load up on greens. If you see a salad or veggies at your holiday party, go for it. There will be probably be lots of other yummy things that you want to conquer first but eating a salad or veggies first will be best for your digestion and you’ll fill yourself up a little bit before going for everything else!

5. Avoid fried foods. Skip the high-fat fried foods and go for the lighter options.

6. Avoid heavy and creamy sauces. Avoid the heavy sauces and opt for the lighter options on offer – it will be better for your digestion and you’ll feel better after the meal too.

7. Hydrate properly. Opt for a drink of water first, to support your digestion and prevent the dreaded “post-Christmas dinner” headache.

8. Chew your food slowly and carefully. Use your senses to enjoy your food (taste, smell, touch, sight). Break your food down slowly with your teeth. When we eat fast there’s no time for our stomach to signal our brain that we are full, so try to pace yourself, chew your food and give enough time for your body to send you those hunger/fullness signals.

9. Add a side of berries to your plate. Adding a cup of antioxidant-rich berries (e.g. strawberries or blueberries) to your meal helps to maintain a healthy oxidative balance, which helps counteract the negative effects of an unhealthy meal (check out our article on this here).

10. Create your own gym wherever you are. This is especially relevant during the current Covid times, so many of you may already be pros at this! Even just walking up and down your stairs a few more times every day, picking up things/squatting, or dancing to some holiday music can be beneficial!

How do you stay healthy during the holidays?

3 Healthy Mindset Shifts to Embrace These Holidays (manage holiday temptations, eliminate food guilt and enjoy the festive season)

 

For anyone working on health or weight loss goals, the beginning of a new holiday season can sometimes feel a little bit stressful. There’s usually lots of parties and socialising with friends and family, and decadent holiday foods play a huge part in the festivities.

The thought of the approaching holiday season can sometimes spark fear of overindulging or gaining weight, so we thought it would be beneficial to put together 3 healthy mindset changes that you can make this festive period, so that you can enjoy holiday eating, and have more time for celebration, family and friends.

One: Be flexible

Be flexible, aim for improvement, not perfection (especially during the holidays). Striving for perfection with the “all or nothing” mentality with no middle ground or compromise will let you down. Goals and intentions are amazing to set up, but make sure that they’re realistic and achievable. If you have made a plan for yourself for the holidays, make sure that it’s not going to make you feel restricted and deprived. Having realistic goals in place will make you feel more empowered around your food choices and you’ll be less likely to overindulge, compared to if you had set up rigid goals that were unattainable.

Take home: Create goals that you know you can achieve  

 

Two: Enjoy what you love (and leave the rest)

The holidays always involve amazing selections of delicious foods, from appetizers and cocktails to beautiful roasts, cookies and desserts. You know yourself better than anyone, so you know what foods you absolutely love and have been looking forward to all year. When you arrive at your holiday party, ask yourself “what would I enjoy here?” and then fill your plate with those things, and leave the rest. This will help to avoid the mindless “eat everything in the room” mentality, which is often prompted by strict expectations that you may have first put on yourself (not always, but often).

Take home: Take the time to choose the foods you want to enjoy

 

Three: Give yourself permission to enjoy

Holiday foods are known to be super indulgent and yummy, and are usually “special” unhealthy foods that we only eat on celebratory occasions. These foods have the purpose of bringing us pleasure, because they taste amazing and someone we love usually made the food for us. When we are eating food that is meant to bring us pleasure, it’s hard to receive that pleasure if we have feelings of guilt, or we’re checking ourselves out from the eating experience. Being present while eating and using our senses to smell, taste, chew and enjoy the food allows us to really receive the pleasure that the food is giving us. When we make pleasure the priority during eating, it becomes harder to overeat because we’re more in check with ourselves during the eating process (and overeating is also not very pleasurable!).

Take home: stay present with your food choices throughout the holiday season

We hope that you found this short list of holiday mindset-change tips helpful. As December creeps up on us remember to keep your health goals in mind, but stay mindful and stay open…maybe even let the holidays guide you a little bit! 

New Study: Can Mushrooms Create Vitamin D from Sunlight?

 

You may know of vitamin D as the “sunshine vitamin”, and for good reason. When we are exposed to the suns (UV) ultraviolet rays, our skin creates its own vitamin D, which then travels to the liver and then to your kidneys to be turned into active vitamin D.

While Vitamin D is also naturally found in some foods such as fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, herring, cod liver oil), eggs yolks, mushrooms and some fortified foods (cow’s milk, soy milk, orange juice, cereals), the sun remains to be the best and most efficient source of this vitamin.

Even though it can be quite easy to get your daily Vitamin D intake from sunlight (especially here in sunny Queensland, Australia), figures from Osteoporosis Australia state that over 30% of Australian adults have a mild, moderate or severe Vitamin D deficiency, which is about 1 in 4!

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a deficiency in Vitamin D, including those who are housebound, the elderly, darker skinned people, medical conditions that can affect your ability to absorb/process vitamin D, and the issue of being able to be sun smart while also getting enough daily sunshine on exposed skin. Many of us have also been in isolation for the past few months, which has made it even more difficult to get our daily sunshine vitamin.

A brand new systematic review by Blumfield et al., has found that eating just five UV exposed mushrooms can give you your daily required dose of vitamin D.

According to the review, in order to boost the vitamin D levels in your mushrooms, you need to have them sitting in direct sunlight for 15-60 minutes. After exposing them to sunlight, you can store them in the refrigerator where they will remain vitamin D boosted for up to 8 days. Blumfield et al., states that “UVB-exposed mushrooms increase and maintain serum 25(OH)D levels to a similar degree as vitamin D supplements.” This was tested on individuals with and without a vitamin D deficiency.

The study also highlights the other health benefits of mushrooms, including the ability to improve markers of metabolic syndrome, improve gastrointestinal health, and reduce risk of ovarian and prostate cancers.

Now with the potential to provide us with our daily dose of vitamin D, there’s just so many reasons to love mushrooms! They are so nutritionally unique and can make such a powerful addition to your diet. Grill them, roast them, stuff them, add them to pizzas or risottos, soups or pastas. Get creative with them on #MeatlessMondays by using grilled portabella mushrooms on burgers, or making grilled shiitake skewers. There are so many ways to spice up your cooking with mushrooms! How do you like to eat mushrooms? 

Reference: Blumfield et al. (2020). Examining the health effects and bioactive components in Agarius bisporus mushrooms: a scoping review. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 84.