exercise, Uncategorised, yoga

30 Days of Yoga With Adriene

Recently, I completed 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene.

Was it easy? Sometimes.

Did I enjoy it? Yes.

Would I carry on? Yes.

Am I carrying on? Yes.

In my younger days, I always used to enjoy exercising (enjoy? Really? Is that the right word. Ok, no. Compelled is probably the right word. I wanted to be fit, and look healthy. I’m also very motivated to remain slim, but I like my food, so exercise helps).

However, as I got older and busier – family, work, you know the story – the exercise slipped by the wayside. But you know what, even though I don’t really love exercising, I don’t like the way I feel when I don’t do it either. I sit down a lot for my job, so I feel sluggish, slow, a bit limp. You know what I’m talking about?

Trying to maintain the running and weights workouts I’d previously done didn’t work for me, and to be honest, I found these forms of exercise were sapping my energy. And the gym is so boring (sorry, gym lovers). A few years ago, I developed a love for yoga, but I found as life became busier, I was talking myself out of attending the class on a regular basis. The only thing I was committing to was a walk about 4-5 times per week. It wasn’t enough.

And then lockdown happened.

Well, you all know the story. If you have a family, you basically become a slave to your kitchen. Cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning. With a bit of work, home-schooling and hysteria thrown in for good measure.

I started off with good intentions, and went for some lovely walks in the glorious hills around where I live, but then it began to slip. Lockdown can get so…. samey… can’t it?

In the end, I decided I had to take action. I was sitting down much of the day, and I was feeling very stiff after so much time at the computer, which is exactly the opposite of what I tell my clients to do. I needed a kick up the pants. Or at the very least, a solution. A friend recommended I do a YouTube 30 day yoga course.

Ok, I thought, they are short sessions so they can definitely fit around my family and working life. No excuses!

I started off on the first day of 30 Days of Yoga, thinking it was a challenge I was going to be doing by myself, but by Day 3 my husband joined in, and by day 15, my younger daughter decided to have a go too. Some nights it was really hard to motivate ourselves, but one of us always wanted to do it, so we got the others into the swing of it, and helped each other through. You always feel the benefit of the session: more energised but also relaxed, if that makes sense.

One thing I noticed in particular was my flexibility, strength and stamina quickly improved (within a few days). My balance, however, is another matter. I definitely need more focus on that. Haha!

My husband said that the exercise was also making him want to look after himself in other ways too – like eating better and getting into a better bedtime routine. (Yay! He’s definitely harder to motivate to eat well than the other people in our house).

Some of the days we had to miss because we were away, but it didn’t matter because we simply caught up when we got back. Having a gap in the sessions didn’t mean we ended up giving up entirely. Because the sessions are short, it isn’t an onerous task, so it compels you to carry on.

I’d say, if you want to exercise, but you are struggling to motivate yourself, you should start off with the Yoga With Adriene series. The sessions are between 15-30 minutes, and you can work at your own level, so they aren’t off-putting. I’m not saying they are always easy, but she gives suggestions for different physical capabilities, so it’s up to you what you do really.

Go on, give it a go. Like me, it may just be the inspiration you need to carry on with a more regular exercise practise. I’m even thinking about going back to my yoga class.

If it’s something you fancy doing, you can find all the free yoga videos here: https://yogawithadriene.com

Health and Wellbeing

January Special Offer

Becoming healthier is easier when you make small changes and have support

In celebration of my impending, ahem, 50th birthday in just over a week, my January offer to you is a mini-nutrition assessment for £25. This is perfect for those who want to start a journey towards better health, but don’t know if nutritional therapy is for them (you can also take the cost of this session off a nutritional therapy package if you decide you want to go further). It’s also for those who want might want to sort out a niggling symptom, like headaches, tiredness, insomnia, or maybe aches and pains. If this sounds like you, and you want to throw out the old, and get your old self back in 2020, get in touch for a chat to find out more.

chronic conditons, nutritional therapy, person centred health, personalised nutrition, Uncategorised, Wellness

Is Nutritional Therapy a Quick Fix?

There isn’t a simple explanation for this, as the answer is both yes and no.

Yes, because many of my clients do see improvements in their health within a few weeks of their first consultations with me, especially those who come with what are classed as more ‘minor’ complaints. Even those with more serious issues find that they quickly feel the benefits of eating more healthily.

For instance, they might come to me about rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis or chronic fatigue, or many other health issues. Alongside these conditions, they may have numerous other symptoms such as insomnia, headaches, bloating, anxiety, mood swings, heavy periods, acne, food sensitivities, allergies, hayfever. The list goes on.

Often, clients will find that that, by supporting their chronic health conditions with specific dietary and lifestyle changes, they will quickly start to see improvements in the other, seemingly unconnected, aggravating symptoms which make their lives difficult.

Often, clients will find that that, upon supporting their chronic health conditions with specific dietary and lifestyle changes, they will quickly start to see improvements in the other aggravating symptoms which make their lives difficult.

The reason for this is that nutritional therapy is a holistic approach. This means that the body is seen as a whole, where each system is not a separate entity, but interlinked with every other. Therefore, if you are supporting one bodily system, you are inadvertently supporting all the rest.

So when isn’t nutritional therapy a quick fix?:

  1. Our bodies needs constant nourishment. Most foods in the standard Western diet have had their nutrients stripped away and contain ingredients that promote inflammation in the body (and this is alongside the high stress lifestyles we lead; the toxins we are exposed to in the air, our food, in our homes, in medications, at work etc). We need to feed our bodies the right foods to provide adequate nutrients to function properly, but also to reduce inflammation. We often start to see improvements in our health when we provide all the nutrients our body requires, but if we stop and go back to our old eating habits, our bodily systems start to malfunction again, and we might see the return of our symptoms. Eating well is a long-term commitment. You may have heard the expression “a lifestyle, not a diet” and this is what nutritional therapy is all about. It’s not simply about losing weight only to gain it all again. It’s not about eating well for two weeks for therapeutic reasons, only to go back to square one, once you’ve achieved your goal. Nutritional therapy provides you with an education where you learn about how foods work synergistically and biochemically in your body to help you function at your best; it also empowers you so you can finally start to take control of your health, rather than your health taking control of you. Though it may sound frightening to make long term changes at first, a good health practitioner will support their clients into a new way of eating over many weeks and months. Once those same individuals start to feel better, and they see they can eat freely as long as they choose foods wisely, they find eating a healthy diet is not so restrictive or difficult after all, which makes it easier for them to commit in the long term.
  2. For every year you’ve been unwell, give yourself at least a month to recover your health. Many conditions bubble under the surface and take years to become fully symptomatic. A return to health, for some, may take as long. Our bodies are amazing structures whose primary purpose it is to keep everything in balance (known as “homeostasis”). This means that, although we might be lacking vital nutrients or be under a great amount of stress (which puts extra pressures on us by depleting nutrients and raising inflammation), our bodies continue to try to function normally and keep everything running smoothly. Initially, we might simply notice that we are fatigued, suffer headaches, or that we get colds more easily. However (here comes my favourite analogy) like a car with little oil, eventually, your internal engine will stall, especially if you hit the fast lane for any length of time. The longer you have been running on low oil, and at a high speed, the more damage you are likely to have inflicted on your engine. Greater damage may equate to more complex health issues. This doesn’t mean there is no point in trying to improve your health, however (eating better will always have positive effects on your body, even if you don’t notice them at first). What it does mean, is that it may take longer to start to see real benefits.
  3. It all depends on what your ultimate goal is. If you want to simply feel a little better than you feel right now, then you will likely see quick improvements. However, for those suffering with complex issues who want a return to a state of previous good health, this may take many months, and in some cases, even years. My daughter is a case in hand. Through a specific diet, we quickly controlled her Hidradenitis Suppurativa (chronic, multiple abscesses). However, reducing her body’s reactivity to other foods has taken much longer and involved functional testing (eg. food intolerance test, stool test, organic acid test and genetics tests) as well as personalised lifestyle changes and supplementation. Her gut health took a beating through years of antibiotics and other medications, and I know it will take time to address these imbalances. I have to also consider that she may never fully regain complete health, but even as she is now, her quality of life is a hundred per cent better than it was a few years ago when her future seemed to be one of constant infections, medications and surgeries.

As I tell my clients, there are no guarantees with nutritional therapy, but you should find that your body thanks you for improving your diet in many glorious ways. Your body may thank you by increasing your energy, reducing aches and pains, improving mobility, improving mood, reducing anxiety, sleeping better, and not reacting to every food you eat.

Nutritional therapy isn’t a quick fix in most cases, but like many things in life, if you are willing to put in the hard work, you’ll reap the rewards.

In many cases, nutritional therapy may not necessarily be a quick fix, but like most things in life, if you are willing to put in the hard work (especially with the support of a health practitioner) you’ll reap the rewards.

To wake up every day after a good night’s sleep, without aches and pains, and feeling ready for anything… personally, I think it’s a goal worth working towards. Don’t you?

microbiome

Microbial Diversity and The Sun

We all know the benefits of being out in the sun. It gives us a high dose of (crucial-to-our-health) vitamin D, which is important for our mood, energy, sleep, bone health, immunity, etc, etc. It’s such a vital vitamin that if we don’t get enough of it, we really feel the consequences. Sadly, these days, it’s known that just about everyone in the UK is vitamin D deficient (or has suboptimal levels), probably a consequence of the amount of time we spend indoors, but also our diet and lifetstyles.

What I didn’t know is, vitamin D status is also related to the balance of the microbiome. Three exposures to outdoor light per week significantly increased serum vitamin D levels, but additionally, microbiome diversity. And in the winter, vitamin D supplementation worked as a good alternative to outdoor exposure.

This is great news, because microbiome diversity, like good vitamin D status, is connected with better health outcomes.

You can learn more about the study here:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2019.02410/full

It’s important, however, to check your vitamin D status before supplementing. Vitamin D at too high levels can be toxic.

Get in touch with your GP, or a health practitioner qualified in nutrition, who will be able to help advise you on testing and correct dosing.

cancer, fundraiser, Nutrition, nutritional therapy, personalised nutrition

MacMillan Christmas Health & Wellbeing Event

I’m excited to have been asked by Mel Jones from HMR Community Cancer Service (Living With and Beyond Cancer) to come and do a talk at this MacMillan Fundraiser on Saturday 30th November at Butterworth Hall in Milnrow.

Fundraiser for MacMillan Cancer Support on 30th November

I’ll be talking about how standard Western diet has become a factor in increasing poor health in Western society, and what steps we can take to improve our wellbeing and quality of life. I’ll also be sharing some quick and easy, yet tasty, health-promoting recipes, which are even more vital at Christmas. It’s a time of fun, family, but also increased pressure.

I’ll also have a stall there if you’d like to come and chat with me about your health, dietary habits, or how nutritional therapy could help you.

I really hope to see you there, though I’ll share more on the event nearer the time.

Come along and support a worthy cause!