Find Your Everyday Balance - Start A Nutritious New Year Today

By Anna-Maria Boelskov - January 15, 2015

Day-To-Day Balance - With A Side of Consciousness

It’s no news to any of us that healthy diets and fancy superfoods are a red-hot trend and probably will be for a while yet. As we have gone so far down an extreme path in regards to health, I think that there will be a counter move to bring us back on the right path again. The path of simplicity. Even in the world of health and nutrition, we have extremists and those of us who try so hard to be good to our bodies can sometimes feel as though it’s impossible to reach a healthy day-to-day balance.

For one, it can be difficult to buy only organic produce, and these superfood powders and juices are really outrageously pricey and there’s always new and amazing super food we must have. My oh my, it’s both expensive and difficult (it seems) to achieve full health these days! But we love this stuff, we love reading about the newest health trends and latest “exotic plant-based, protein-rich elixir”.

As a nutritionist and herbalist, I have one very clear belief (well…I have several actually, but let’s not get stuck here) that we need to realise and believe that when it comes to our health we have very valuable instincts within us. Our bodies are always trying to tell us what really is going on for us at a cellular level; however, we have become so addicted to listening to experts and somehow chose instead to dumb down our instincts and intuition. Don’t get me wrong: we all need guidance, support and advice when we feel unwell or have dis-ease and there’s no better gift to give yourself than to seek help when you feel you’ve gone off track.

The truth is, that we don't need extreme diets or fancy health powders, we are much better off going back to basics, spending the time it takes to purchase real food from a farmers market (or what real - non-packaged food is available near you no need to aim for only organic, just aim for real food) and cook with intention and joy – that will in reality save you money, and be much easier to sustain and support good health. There are no quick fixes when it comes to health. Great & long-term health requires daily intention and focus. It requires planning, and time in the kitchen – but I promise you, your health will blossom and you will see that taking care of yourself and your family will bring you a lot of self-love and self-kindness, and then your inner intuition and guidance will be much clearer – I encourage you to embrace this idea as we head into this new year ahead, with plenty of room for new beginnings!

I want to shine some light on our own intuition and knowledge – we all have it and it’s one of the amazing things I see with my patients when after a few sessions they actually start to reconnect with themselves. To me, that is just as important as having a good diet, exercising daily and keeping vitamin D levels within range on your pathology test.

So, as a new year awaits us I put to you the idea of pressing pause, slow down and tune in to your true values and your very own wealth of knowledge.

Before the holiday season hit us I checked in with many of my patients. They have worked so very hard on their health and various degrees of dis-ease, so I needed to check that they don’t just ‘let it all go’ for the weeks of Christmas and New Year celebrations. Can we have a fun relaxing time and still care for our selves? We all want to have a few drinks, dance and eat good food with loved ones. Can we have balance? I firmly believe that yes, we can, we can do it all nutritionally and consciously balanced. So I have put together my little list of suggestions to maintain balance while you go out and enjoy yourself - this goes for any busy social time you may have ahead of you!

  • Remember good food is real food! If the food you are eating is from a whole food source, cooked by hand and doesn't come from a pre-mixed pre-packaged source you can generally claim that as real and good food and goes into the category of healthy food!
  • When you go out for dinners or parties, check in with yourself beforehand. How do you feel? Do you feel bloated from the night before? Do you have a headache? Do you feel hungry? Whatever it may be, you’re much better off being aware of how you are feeling before you leave home. That way you are much less likely to ignore your needs! That means you may have a glass of water before your glass of wine or you may choose to return home a little earlier to catch up on some of the rest you didn't get the night before.
  • When it comes to portions, size does matter.  Just because you're at a dinner party doesn't mean you have to eat for three. Be aware of what you are eating and how it makes you feel. Have you had six months on a gluten-free diet and suddenly you feel and look like you’re four months pregnant? While you are eating, think what you are eating, you could be putting a lot of pressure on your gut to digest food it’s not prepared or able to process. Please, enjoy the food, but be aware of what you are putting in your body and give your digestive enzymes a little extra nudge before you eat foods that are not usually in your diet by having some bitter foods before you leave home, e.g lemon in water or a potent shot of apple cider vinegar.
  • Always, always, always drink water before and after you go to a social event. Being dehydrated is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Considering how easy it is to have a glass of water, why not just do it! Your body has a whole lot more resilience when it’s hydrated and guess what (!), you feel much better too. Remember, the combination of lack of sleep, alcohol, black tea, coffee and sugar is dehydrating. So try to leave your home already well hydrated, have a glass of water between drinks and then again when you come home.
  • Sugar. Aahh, it’s everywhere at social gatherings, well hidden and so hard to resist! I know – I too have a sugar monster inside of me – but here are a few tricks to guard against the sugars: 1. Load up on protein first! Maybe have a protein snack in your car, in your bag and make your breakfast protein-rich. That way you feel fuller and your blood sugar levels will not spike as fast. In fact, if you are packed with protein, you may not have so much of a sugar craving. 2. Try and trick your body into sugar-satisfaction by having cinnamon (perhaps as a sprinkle on some yoghurt), berries or liquorice tea as treats or snacks. These are all healthy and won't spike our blood sugars.
  • Alcohol, the ever-accepted social addiction! Don’t worry, I’m not here to suggest you should have had a dry Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I am going to suggest that if you know you are going to drink alcohol, prepare your body. It may lessen your hangover, so why not try:  1. Help your darling liver with the load it’s about to get. Have some bitter foods in your diet (rocket, chicory and citrus work well) and drink a glass of lemon water or 5ml of apple cider vinegar with water. 2. Did I mention hydration…? 3. Eat a solid meal before you drink; please don’t drink on an empty stomach. Your meal must include protein, good fats and vegetables! 4. St. Mary’s thistle is a stellar herb that will help your liver detox and may reduce hangovers – get hold of this amazing herb email me
  • Slow down. It was just the holiday season, remember? Did you actually get time to rest? Don’t rob yourself of some good rest and downtime. Just as catching up with family and friends is life-giving and fun, you also need some alone time. Perhaps reflect on your goals, your achievements of the year, what you are grateful for, what lessons you have learned. How are you really feeling? I highly recommend 30 minutes or more daily to just be by yourself. Meditate, go for a walk, sit in nature and perhaps write down your reflections. Many studies show that practising gratitude, meditation and reflection create a happier you. You will also get much more energy if you allow for a little-uninterrupted me-time. Schedule it into your work calendar or family calendar - if it's not intentionally planned it's likely not to happen.
  • Get some beauty sleep! The body needs rest, there’s no way around this one. If you don't sleep you miss out on some pretty cool naturally-occurring day-to-day healing and repair, but your body needs sleep to do so. Meditation will also facilitate this by the way.

Five most harmful foods to avoid

  • Deep fried foods, those hydrogenated oils are absolutely horrid for your health,
  •  Low-fat products are an illusion, you won’t get your nutrition and you will get loaded with sugar instead. So go with full-fat products – as long as they are natural fats.
  • Refined sugar, eeeek! – Soft drinks, lollies, cakes and cookies (unless homemade with real products and less sugar – I suggest using coconut sugar & rice malt syrup instead of your common white sugar)
  • Burnt BBQ food – anything burnt or blackened from cooking is carcinogenic, avoid it – just cook it a little less. Simple, but important.
  • Energy drinks, No, absolutely not – if you are that tired you are probably in great need of some rest, so schedule it in! Even a 20-minute nap will give you much more (real!) energy compared to a red bull or the likes.

I hope this has sparked a little glitter of light within you, to encourage you to stay balanced and nourished with a healthy start. I wish you a wonderful year ahead! Consultations can be booked here.

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