Everywhere you look someone has the answer as to how you can improve your life. Whether you're suffering from body image issues, anxiety, depression or any host of a number of chronic health conditions, there seems to be 101 conflicting miracle cures. Yet how is it then that one person's provided 'answer' or 'solution' conflicts entirely with the next one?
The answer is simple: there is no 'one size fits all' approach to both your physical and mental health. That's the beauty of life; we are all individuals, and with being an individual comes a completely personalised approach to finding out what works best for you. There is no black and white, good or bad, healthy or unhealthy when it comes to creating balance in your life. The exciting thing is, embarking on that journey of working out what makes you tick, doesn't come at a price tag. It comes at being true to yourself. So what are the steps to figuring this out?
1. STOP. That's right. Just stop. Take a moment to check in with yourself throughout the day. Then..
2. LISTEN. Your body and mind will tell you whether or not what you're currently doing, eating, or thinking, is serving you at this time.
3. CONTINUE or CHANGE: If all is well, then keep going! If something isn't sitting right, then don't keep going with it. Explore the root issue further.
With these 3 simple steps I hope you can work towards creating a more balanced life for yourself and encourage those around you to do the same!
When it comes to eating, everyone has a different opinion. The science seems conflicting and different ways of nourishing the body have been heralded as the ideal way we all should eat. Yet we often forget that everyone is different. Not two people are the same. Therefore, how we respond to food, what we thrive off, will also be different. I think we forget this far too often. Intuitive eating, that is, listening to your body's signals as to what it REALLY wants and not what you THINK it wants based on external influences like the latest diet trend or an article you read in the newspaper, is what is going to serve you optimally.
This is the reason why some people do so well on a vegan or vegetarian based diet, whilst others champion the realms of paleo, primal or gluten-free. The easiest way to work out what's your best option, is to experiment. Trial and error tells us what's working and what's not. Keep it simple. Eat it and see how you feel. It's not rocket science, so why should we try to make it complicated? Most of all, enjoy the experience. Food is there to nourish, but we have tastebuds for a reason!
All Natural, low carbohydrate, sugar-free,gluten-free, lactose-free, paleo...these are just some of the labels you can read when you scan the aisles of supermarkets and health food stores. Yet what characterises a product a 'health food' product and what doesn't. One word: marketing. Healthy is not a fact, its an adjective, a 'quality' that marketers use to describe their products. Despite this, so many people get sucked into forking out way too much money or supposedly 'health food products' that are nothing more than glorified regular snacks. What's more, these companies are sprouting up more and more and people feel compelled to jump on the health movement bandwagon, guilting themselves into participating in a growing cult of body-obsessed, health-obsessed individuals. Don't get me wrong, eating healthy is fantastic and I believe everyone should make a commitment to prioritising what they put in their mouths. However, doing so through these quick health fixes, these all-in-one bars and powders and supplements is simply kidding yourself.
So what should you be looking out for. Here's my Golden Rules for spotting a genuinely healthful product from a regular chocolate bar with low quality protein and a hefty price tag added.
1. If it comes in a packet, chances are it's processed. Processed food is rarely better than a simply whole food as a source of energy and nutrients.
2. Be mindful of the different words that can be used for sugar. Glucose, Fructose, Agave, Coconut sugar,Repadura, Dextrose and a number of other words all mean the same thing essentially: SUGARand must be broken down in your body as sugar.
3. Fillers that bulk up the product and are not healthful: bulking agents, rice flour, gluten, soy, the list is almost endless. Don't forget about those industrial plant/seed oils like canola and soy oil that wreck havoc on your body.
4. The word 'natural' before things like flavours, colours, additives and seasoning. You have no idea what these so called 'natural' products are. Remember that many toxic and unhealthful substances occur naturally. Sugar is also 'natural'.
5. Protein bars beware: cheap protein sources like soy protein concentrate and sugar amounts equivalent to candy/sweets.
Long story short, just eat real food and don't get swayed by labels that are designed to do exactly what they've been doing: get you to buy exorbitantly overpriced products.
Follow me on Twitter: @Tommy_Grainger
For the past 3 years we've seen the Paleo movement take the world by storm. From cook books to online programs, community networks, conventions and online bloggers become practical paleo "celebrities". Yet is Paleo legit and is it actually healthy? In a word, yes. Paleo is not really a diet but rather, more of a lifestyle. Eating foods that our paleo ancestors consumed, or more so, as CLOSE to this lifestyle as possible in our modernised world, is always going to be better than the industrialised heavily-processed food that characterises the standard western diet. Saying goodbye to carb-ladened grains and hello to healthy fats, animal proteins, fruits, veg, nuts and seeds seems like a no brainer right?
I don't think it's that simple. In short: paleo is, in theory, great. BUT. And here's where I have a problem with Paleo....it can be extremely dogmatic. People who follow a paleo framework but don't treat it like a religion filled with dogma, name-shaming and guilt-ridding, are what I'd consider to be the people who are doing paleo correctly. They're the ones that aren't saying 'I'm paleo. I am primal. Grains are poison' or something of the like. Rather, they are the people who incorporate the wisdom of eating a mostly whole foods anti-inflammatory style of diet ,that is open to change and embraces flexibility. These people are the healthy 'paleo followers'. As soon as a diet becomes an identity, it is no longer healthy. They may say that you are what you eat, but this should not be considered too literally. When food becomes a deciding factor in one's identity and consumes the individual's life, it becomes an addiction, an obsession. It becomes orthorexia.
So in summary, I think paleo is absolutely fabulous and I think more people should embrace the ideal that a palaeolithic eating style characterises. However, approaching paleo as a restrictive way of eating, as a set of rules for how you must eat for the rest of your life, is far from healthy. It is consuming. Ask yourself whether you are consuming food or whether food is truly consuming you. You can have your cake and eat it too. Don't forget about finding that balance in your life that promotes true health and happiness.
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There has been a lot of debates about the effects of sugar on the human body. We're not just talking justabout table sugar here, but all the added sweeteners hidden under fancy names like evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrate and agave. One man Damon Gameau, takes the debate into his own hands by consuming a low-fat diet of conventional food products traditionally considered healthy: low fat yoghurts, juice, liquid breakfast drinks, cereal and most interestingly: children's lunchbox snacks. The results, in my opinion, are not surprising, but for many, will be quite the eye-opener. Over 2 months Gameau films a documentary: That Sugar Film, which tracks the effects on his body. Gaining more than 8kg and adding 10cm of fat around his waist, he moves from the healthiest 20% of the Australian male population, into the worst. His liver shows early signs of disease, his blood hits the ceiling, along with a number of other adverse health markers.
As a film maker and health activists, I can really appreciate the aesthetics of the film. It's not only informative, featuring a number of industry experts like David Gillespie, author of 'Sweet Poison', but celebrities such as Hugh Jackman and Steven Fry. It's fun, entertaining and an all-round fantastic contribution to the nutrition documentary field. Breaking down the complexities of sugar absorption and it's effects on the body, this is film that everyone can understand AND should watch.
More on the film:
Picture: That Sugar Film.com
Elena Wewer, editor of Vegan Independent, discusses all things vegan! She shares her dos and don'ts when it comes to veganism as well as tips on getting started. Learn how to make the vegan lifestyle work for you or how you can adopt vegan practices into your daily life for health, nutrition and an ethical lifestyle.
I had an amazing time this weekend exploring Germany's 'eco capital': Freiburg. Click here to discover the best places to wine and dine for peanuts!!!
Casey shares how her struggles with gluten and diagnosis with Celiac Disease led her to develop a popular online blog, amazingly delicious new recipes and promote a healthy body image world wide. This is great for anyone interested in the world of Gluten Free!
Juicing is all the range right now, and for a good reason too: it’s a fantastic way to get a huge hit of nutrients in one easy to digest drink. However, are you making one of these common mistakes that could be setting you back?
1. That you’re juicing to begin with
Don't worry; I'm not going to tell you that juicing is bad for you. Far from it. However, it's not the most optimal form to drink your fruits and veggies. Instead of juicing, blend them as a smoothie.
Juicing extracts the liquids from the fruits/vegetables, and this means that a lot of the beneficial dietary fibre gets lost in the process. Fibre is especially important for slowing down the digestion of your juice. This means that it will keep your blood sugar levels levelled and keep you 'regular' in the bathroom thanks to all those soluble and insoluble plant fibres If you want a slow, steady release of energy, then go for the smoothie.
2. You're including mostly fruit
Juicing a whole heap of fruits is like inserting a drip of fructose into your arm. A little of the stuff can be good, but too much fructose, the kind of sugar that is found in fruits and less so in veggies, has now been claimed to be a contributor to gaining fat. Did you know that a glass of orange juice typically has the same amount of sugar per serve as coke?
3. Your juices aren't homemade or freshly squeezed
Buying a green juice in a bottle from the supermarket instantly implies one thing: that it's not that fresh. Once you make a juice, you should drink it pretty much straight away, or freeze it for later. The maximum number of vitamins and nutrients are present in a freshly squired juice. Time equates with nutrient deterioration.
4. You include a lot of spinach or kale
This probably will surprise you, but spinach and kale are not the best options for a juice or smoothie. Why? Put simply, it's hard for your body to extract the nutrients from raw spinach or kale. Spinach and kale are much more bio-available to your body in cooked form (steaming lightly is optimal). Spinach and kale are both great. People consider them to be a superfood, but it's not so super when you drink them in their raw form.
5. You're replacing a meal of veggies with a juice.
Eating foods in their most complete form is always optimal. A juice or smoothie can be a great way to get a nutrient boost, especially when the digestive system has been taxed or is rather week. However, the best choice will usually be to chew chew chew your food, and this comes in the form of a generous plate of vegetables. Chewing activates your digestive system and the saliva in tor mouth helps break down those plant fibers.
I am a huge fan of green juices, but more so, a nice fibrous and delicious green smoothie. Go crazy with your combinations, just keep these tips in mind the next time you fix yourself a vitamin packed drink!
Photo by: Damien Pollet
THE TOP 5 MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN JUICING: http://www.thomasgrainger.info/blog/the-top-5-mistakes-people-make-when-juicing @gz_health #paleo #vegan #slowcarb #bulletproof
Vegan for more than 10 years, Jennifer reveals why you should consider being a vegan, including how to make small changes in your life to be more animal-friendly. We discuss whether veganism is for everyone, the 'right way' to be vegan, common mistakes/misconceptions, vegan-friendly living in the city, and much much more!
Presented by Thomas Grainger