Passive v’s Active Relaxation

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I have a dirty little secret which I’m feeling strong enough to tell you about… I love, and I mean LOVE, trashy reality TV. The more dramatic, immoral and outlandish the better. I consider a night in front of the Kardashians, ‘The Real Housewives’ and if I’m lucky, an episode or two of ‘Geordie Shore’ to be pure heaven.

Trash tv

For years I used to think that watching TV was considered to be a way of relaxing and have only recently admitted to myself that after I gorge on TV I never feel in anyway relaxed.  Then I came across this lovely piece on ‘Self Care’ by Kris Carr and I started to realise that there’s a difference between Passive and Active relaxation and it all started to make sense…

The Science Bit

Taking it back for a moment to why we need to relax – basically throughout the day our bodies react to stressful situations by releasing the ‘fight or flight’ stress hormone Cortisol.

It’s called this as back in the day this would give us that extra rush of energy and clarity needed to allow us to, say, leg it from a hungry looking Sabre Tooth Tiger. However, today stressful situations come in so many shapes and sizes- traffic, queues, deadlines, presentations, technology crashing at inopportune times, cold calling… (Gaaah, I’m stressing myself out even thinking about it all!) which our body treats like Mr Sabre Tooth and sends constant shots of Cortisol around our system.

saber-tooth-cat

While small, well timed shots of Cortisol can be lifesaving, it isn’t good to have it sloshing around our system 24/7 as over time it adds pressure to our adrenals, hinders our immune system, negatively effects our digestion and messes with our delicate hormones.

It turns out that some people’s systems are better at reacting to the release of Cortisol then others, these magic people can counteract a stressful day by engaging in passive relaxation methods (e.g. TV watching) and feel great afterwards, while others (me!) need ‘active relaxation’ to counteract the effects and stabilise their system.

Active Relaxation

I know ‘active relaxation’ sounds a bit like an oxymoron but it’s referring to relaxation which you actually have to be engaged in, like a yoga class, taking 30 minutes to unwind in a hot bath, meditating, concentrating on deep breathing, going for a walk- whatever it is that makes you feel zen afterwards. For me it doesn’t involve sticking on the box, slumping on the couch and watching trash TV while checking my iphone/ ipad every 60 seconds, I end up feeling more hyped up after that then beforehand!

Therefore when I’ve had a stressful day I’m now trying (trying being the operative word here!) to set aside some ‘active relaxation’ time by getting on my yoga mat, going for a walk or doing a Chakra Cleans (Ha! How ‘woo woo’ does that sound?! I’ll tell you more about it another time!) and stabilise my system… before I get stuck into that bottle of wine and Kardashian reruns!!  😉

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Juice Detox: Day 3

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Today I was so happy to graduate on to different types of juices- as they say ‘variety is the spice of life’ (well no, it turns out ginger is the spice of life- it was so great waking up to a carrot and ginger juice this morning!). The afternoon juice was also very much welcomed as it was a kind of ‘juice- thie’ (see what I did there?! Juice + Smoothie?!… Sorry the lack of food is effecting my sense of humour) with a blended banana and live probiotic yoghurt thrown in at the end. DElish!

I’m not going to keep you long today, as I need to go get some work done, but if you ever decide to try a juice detox I just wanted to give you these prep tips:

1. I recommend having a few bowls out when making your juices. As per the pic, 2 for the chopped fruit and veg for our AM juices (chopped so it can be easily slid down the tube into the juicer) and then one for all the rubbishy bits. It just makes everything a lot neater and more efficient.

Juice2. If you are making the juices the night before make sure you have lots of appropriate sized glass jars and lids to store them in overnight. When fillings the jars you need to fill them right up to the very tip as the more oxygen in the jar the more they are oxygenated which reduces the digestive enzymes in the juices.

3. Listen to Jason Vale’s motivational clips each day on the App. Granted his manner and over enthusiasm is annoying, but he actually talks a lot of sense and gives you a kick of motivation when it’s really needed.

Day 3 Verdict: A bit of juice variety has pulled me back from the brink!

Super Trendy Super Food: Maca

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This time last year if you had asked me if I knew what Maca was I would wonder whether we were talking about a person, place or thing. So let me break it down a bit before we jump in. Maca is an ugly looking root originally from Peru. It’s sold mainly in Health Food Shops and comes as a dried powder in baggies for about €10.

As per the title we’re talking about a super food here, however in my books this stuff is more than a super food- this stuff is magic.

The great thing about Maca is that it works with the needs of your body. So for some it can decrease stress levels, others it can be used to enhance stamina, energy and endurance and for some it can be used to help with their fertility.

The reason I love it though is the effects it has on our hormones. Maca works with the body to stabilise any hormone that is out of wack. So if you are struggling with general PMS, feeling anxious, irritable, low, experiencing irregular or painful periods there’s a strong possibility your hormones aren’t operating as they should and could do with a little helping hand. That’s where Maca comes in.

Because of it’s lovely malty flavour I normally add mine to smoothies or use it when doing some raw cooking. Here’s two of my favourite Maca recipes:

1. Natasha’s Raw Living Food Energiser Smoothie: Throw all off the following into a smoothie maker or blender:

  • ¼ pineapples
  • 2 oranges peeled
  • ½ organic lemon whole (yup, throw the rind in too!)
  • 1tsp maca
  • 1 cup coconut water

 2. My New Roots Nut Butter Cups

 

My Juicing Adventure: My First Juice Detox

Juice-Land

Following on from a previous blog post about the wonders of juice, I have decided to try one of Jason Vales famous Juicing detox weeks starting next weekend. The detox follows Jason’s ‘7 Lbs in 7 Days’ book, starts on Saturday 13th July and lasts, ahem, 7 days. I’m not doing this detox to lose weight (actually, scrap that I wouldn’t mind losing 3/4 pounds) but my main aim is to scrub out my system, get all the junk and gunk outta there and get it all shinny and new- just in time for the onslaught that will be a week with four other couples in a villa in Tuscany, Italy!!

All details for this Juicing week can be found here, but in a nut shell:

  • I’ve gone the cheapo route and rented Jason’s book ‘7 Lbs in 7 Days‘ from my local library, this has all the juice recipes etc.
  • I’ve downloaded the App for my iphone and have my trusty list of juicing ingredients printed out and read for purchasing

I must admit I’m excited at the thought of doing this detox and getting to use my new juicer but I’m also well aware this it’s going to be difficult and I recommend people make a concerted effort to steer clear of me for the first few days at least! 😉

Any chance you are interested in trying it out too? I would love a little group of us to attempt it together- as they say, there is safety in numbers!! Although last year, over 28,000 people from 60 countries took part so I’m sure I’ll have a good support network! If you’re unsure about it I recommend giving this Lizze Fit’s blog post a read for more info- she breaks down what happens over the course of the week very nicely and is the reason I’ve decided to try it in the first place- thanks Lizze!

Anyways, I’ll keep you all updated on how I get on- wish me luck! 🙂

I Quit Sugar (for a month)

sugarlips

There’s so much I want to say about this that I could type for hours, but I know you don’t want to read for hours so I’m going to keep it short and sweet (for want of a different word).

A normal day for me used to look like this:

Morning: Lemon and hot water, Porridge with full fat milk, 1 banana, honey and either chia seeds or linseed

Lunch: A salad left over from last night with cheese and some bread

Afternoon snack: A Jaffa Cake or two (my office is obsessed with them for some reason)/ A handful of homemade Trail Mix

When I get in from work: Green smoothie

Dinner: Some vegetarian and cheese based meal

TV Snack: Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and maybe a glass of Red wine

The truly shocking thing is that all of this adds up to about 30 teaspoons of sugar a day and the thing is is we aren’t designed to consume as much as we do. The correct daily intake of sugar we should in fact be consuming is only 6 teaspoons of sugar a day.

I had no idea I was consuming this much but then you see it turns out that sugar doesn’t only come from a chocolate bar or a bag of Haribo… Glucose (carbs), fructose (fruit) and lactose (dairy) = Sugar

As Sarah Wilson discusses in her book, ‘I Quit Sugar’, the problem with sugar is 2 fold

Problemo #1: Fructose is a sneaky mo’ fo’…

Sugar makes us eat more.  Every other food we digest has a corresponding appetite hormone that registers the food in our bellies which results in us saying, ‘Jayzuz, I’m stuffed’, (or something a little more lady like!), but not sugar. As we all know we can gorge on sugary foods without feeling full (maybe sick but far from full)

And the thing is that the Coca Colas, Red Bulls, Mars and Nestles of this world know this fact.

They say their products should only be consumed in ‘moderation’ knowing full well that they have been designed to hit our ‘bliss point’- a point at which the product tastes sweet, but not so sweet that we can’t keep eating them- and cause us to over indulge.

It has been scientifically proven that we can’t consume these sugary foods in moderation. These ‘foods’ do something to our saliva glands that make them juice at the sight of them, they do something to our brains and taste buds that crave them when we see them advertised, they do something to our stomachs that make them gurgle when we see them for sale in the newsagents. Once you have a bite you’re hooked and want more.

Problemo #2: Sugar messes with our delicate hormones

Each consumption of sugar messes with our blood sugar levels, it sends them soaring high and then crashing low. When they’re up the hormone insulin has to kick in and regulate it and when it’s down the stress hormone Cortisol has to help out. Here are the effects this can have on our bodies if this happens a couple of times a day:

Insulin side effects: increased body fat, reduction in our bodies ability to burn fat, reduction in lean muscle, increase in inflammation, reduced energy, effects our mood, increased brain fog, increased oestrogen (which is a whole other story…)

Cortisol side effects: Digestive problems, inflammations, inability to repair, lower immune.

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April’s Challenge:

Give Up- Sugar

So that’s why I gave up Sugar (and all it’s little friends, including fructose) for April, I went Cold Turkey.

I  followed Sarah Wilson’s book, this is an 8 week process but as the first two weeks are a warm up and the last week is a warm down I squished it into a 5 week process.

I coupled this with 100 squats a day as this is great at producing the growth hormone which is a natural way to stabilise our Blood Sugar and counteract the negative effects of insulin (more on that here)

Verdict

This month was a total eye opener for me and the effects have only really been felt since the month’s experiment was finished. I think my taste buds have changed (matured?) and I can no longer eat desert or even fruity smoothies as I find them too sweet and they give me a physical pain in my gums.  I also lost weight (the weight put on when I attempted to be a vegetarian and a little bit more). I also noticed my PMS and general lady time wasn’t as rough as once was.

Since then I have reintroduced fruit, honey and some sugary treats into my diet but I am largely trying to follow this lifestyle each day as it makes me feel so good.

So, do you think you can/want to try it? If so here’s a few resources to sink your teeth into:

A short 15 minute video

Some blog posts:

Some books:

  • Sarah Wilson, ‘I Quit Sugar’
  • Mark Moss, ‘Salt, Sugar, Fat’
  • David Gillspie, ‘Sweet Poison’

A piece of info I just have to leave you with: A glass of apple juice contains as much sugar as a glass of Coke… 10/ 12 teaspoons. I’m sorry but it’s true.

Meditation: A Work In Progress

meditation

This is a review of how the 4th month of my ‘The Year of Doing’ went…

Take Up- Meditation

I’ve attempted meditation in the past, I’ve been on a couple of meditation courses where I mainly spent the meditation time thinking of what insightful yet humorous thing I was going to say when the facilitator asked the group for feedback. My brain just does not want to stop and if it does it goes, ‘Oh look at that, I just stopped there for a mil second!’.

So, it’s safe to say I was dreading this month’s challenge and I’m sorry to say I failed, I failed sooo badly.

Look, I know all the benefits that supposedly come from regular meditation:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves sleep
  • Makes your brain stronger and helps you concentrate better
  • Reduces stress and tension
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Increased energy

But it’s so bloody boring!!!

When I sit down to meditate this is what happens:

Eimear: OK now Brain we are going to sit here for 20 minutes, just me and you and think of nothing. You hear me? Nothing.

Brain: Ha, yeah right.

Eimear: Don’t be cheeky. Right let’s get started. OK, right, I’m relaxing my body, from my toes right up to my scalp. Mmmmmmm I’m all relaxed and tingly. Now I’m concentrating on my breathing- in and out, in and out.

Brain: Silence

Eimear: In and out, in and out.

Brain: This is going pretty well.

Eimear: In and out, in and out.

Brain: Maybe I’m actually a meditation genius and I can hold classes and write books about meditation and travel the word teaching people how to meditate. Oh and then I’ll probably be invited on Oprah’s Soul Sundays and talk about how great and easy meditation is. Oh crap… What would I wear?

Eimear: Shhhhhhhhhhhhh. Breath in and out. Concentrating on the breath

Brain: Oh ‘Revenge’ is on tonight, yusssss.

Brain: Hummmm, what’s in the fridge? Eggs, mushrooms, spinach- maybe an omelette for dinner?

Brain: My back’s a bit sore from all this ‘sitting up straight’ malarkey-  I’ve such bad posture.

Brain: I need to book that hair appointment

Brain: Silence

Brain:  I wonder which member of One Direction will turn out to be gay?

Eimear: Excuse me?! We. are. trying. to. meditate!! My GOD. OK, concentrating on the breath.

Brain: Silence

Eimear: Silence

Brain: Probably that Zane fella.

Eimear: For fucks sake, right that’s it. This is over, you are USLESS.

Brain: Yippee, let’s go have that omelette.

See?! I end up exhausted and warn out.

But- I will not be beat! I’ve decided from now on, instead of trying to tear myself away from some activity to go and meditate, I’ll just slot meditation into an activity I’m already doing, like when I drink my morning cup of hot water and lemon I try to concentrate on the moment or each time I finish a Yogaglo class I’ll take 10/15 at the end to try and meditate. As they say practice makes perfect and I feel I need this.

Change takes time

Raw Review

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If you’d have told me this time last year I’d be going to a raw food class 12 months later, and enjoying it I’d of laughed in your face and told you to lay off the booze… But that’s exactly what happened last weekend.

I came across ‘Natasha’s Living Food’ at the Mind Body Spirit event in the RDS and was blown away when the nice man behind the counter explained that everything Natasha and the team make are raw… everything, including their soups, pizzas, cakes, brownies and sushi. AND not only are they raw they are also wheat, dairy, egg and gluten free! This blew my mind, so I was 1st in line for her ‘cookery’ course last weekend.

So what is ‘Raw/ Living Food’?

Eh, it’s food that isn’t cooked…  Duh.

Ok smarty-pants, well why is it good for us?

Raw foods contain live enzymes that aid digestion, which activate as they are consumed. Once a food is heated above 118 F the enzymes begin to die, and destroys nutrients, minerals, amino acids and vitamins, and alters the natural metabolic structure of the food. So when you eat a food in it’s raw form you’re getting the very best from it.

Raw food also promotes an alkaline gut (as opposed to an acidic one) which boosts our immune system, lowers inflammation and reduces our chances of getting sick.

Sounds good. So what did Natasha make?!

  1. We started off easily with a refreshing and cleansing smoothie made with lemons, coconut water, pineapple and a sprinkle of Maca. As someone who’s only arriving at this super food party I was fascinated to hear how the body uses Maca for energy, stamina and as a hormone stabilisation. It’s defo on my shopping list.
  2. Natasha showed us how to make homemade almond milk (goodbye store bought crap), with which she made a delish ‘chocolate milkshake’ with cacao and cinnamon. Mmmmmm 🙂
  3. Then we moved onto sprouting and fermented foods and how they can give our gut an extra helping hand. Again this was all brand new to me so I lapped it up. Natasha is a hive of knowledge on nutrition and her enthusiasm is infectious. You feel healthier just listening to her.
  4. Then we had a spicy green soup– yes, a RAW soup, made on miso, spinach, coriander, coconut, Thai spices all blended together and heated with some hot water. Served sprinkled with sprouts. Bleedin delish!
  5. Natasha then made a cake with a seaweed mousse! You’ll just have to take my word for it that this was also scrumy
  6. We then had a late lunch of pizza and salad. But not any old pizza- this was a pizza with a buckwheat, flaxseed and courgette base, the cheese made of cashews, with an olive tapenade and tomatoy/ garlicy topping. Again the flavours worked really well together and I wolfed down the lot, not missing mozzarella for a minute.

All in all it was a great day and once this hectic week is over I can’t wait to get testing the recipes out myself!

Here’s a few pics of what we ate (with thanks to Viorica Vesa- another raw food enthusiast!)

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Magic spiralina

Kidneys: The Neglected Organ?

You’ve had a mental couple of weeks working and socialising and basically burning the candle at both ends. You wake up exhausted and cranky most mornings and can’t operate until you have had 1/2/3 cups of coffee. Work is stressful and a bit too fast paced then you would like. Most evenings you have a strong craving for salty products. There are large dark circles under your eyes, your nails are cracking and your hair is dull and lifeless.

Does this sound like you? Then keep reading cos I think you could do with some info on yer kidneys.

The poor old kidneys, most people have a general understanding of what the liver, lungs and heart do for us and how to look after them but when it come to the kidneys a lot of people don’t even know what they actually do for us, never mind how to take care of them. I for one used to be clueless, I didn’t even realise we had two… true story.

Quick run through: The kidneys are two small organs in your lower back under your adrenal glands. Their functions include:

  • Filtering waste out of the blood
  • Regulating the body’s salt, potassium and acid content
  • Removing of drugs from the body
  • Balancing the body’s fluids
  • Releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure
  • Controlling the production of red blood cells

See they are useful little fellas after all?! (not sure why, but they are male in my mind)

The past 10/ 20 years have seen a massive increase in people suffering from kidney disease, the need for dialysis and kidney transplants due to kidney failure. The reasons for this is closely linked to the skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes. In fact dialysis centres are becoming so normal in the US they are popping up in shopping malls like a Starbucks…

davita_dialysis-large

The other scary thing is that many people who have kidney disease don’t even know they have it. Therefore it’s important to recognise the signs your kidneys are under additional pressure and help them out.

So what can I do to help my kidneys?

  1. Eat more magnesium-rich, hydrating foods, e.g. Raw almond butter/ Dark, leafy greens, e.g. kale/ Spirulina- I’m going to do a blog on this superfood shortly/ Brown Rice/ Avocado
  2. Be informed: the next time you’re doing a shop have a read of the ingredients, especially the salt content of products before buying. I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you but deli meats, pre made soups and most sauces are laden with salt.
  3. Regularly eat the following ‘kidney booster’ foods: red grapes/ cranberries/ apples/ garlic/ red peppers.
  4. Try and eat your 5 fruit and veg- everyday! This takes preparation and forward planning. I try to do a big veggie shop twice a week so I don’t go without when things are busy.
  5. Quit smoking: Duh…
  6. Find a type of exercise you find fun and get moving!
  7. Prevent kidney infections by drinking lots of water and staying away from those terrible ‘ Feminine Hygiene Sprays’.

How the hell do you pronounce Quinoa?!

CLoseUpQuinoa200by155

First things first people, it’s pronounced ‘keen-wah’. I’d recommend learning that… you don’t want to do what I did and embarrass yourself by asking ‘hi, where’s the keen-knowa’ (doh!).

This grain is a native of South America, where lots of magical super foods seem to originate from, in fact it was known as ‘the gold of the Inca’s’ as it gave them that certain ‘X Factor’ while in battle! Let me run through its qualities:

  • It’s gluten-free (unlike couscous)- so great for celiacs or anyone with a gluten intolerance
  • It is extremely high in protein- great for the vegetarians among us and those looking for a healthy energy boost.
  • It contains almost twice as much fibre as most other grains and is also high in magnesium, B2 and iron.
  • For convenience sake, it cooks the fastest of all grains
  • It’s getting really popular lately and can now be found in most supermarkets- along side the couscous or else in the health food aisle.
  • It’s bleedin delish!

So how does one cook this little miracle grain?!

  1. Spend time washing the quinoa- this loosens up the outer coating of saponin, which can give a bitter taste if not removed
  2. Transfer the quinoa to boiling water. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to simmer and cook for 12/ 15 minutes.
  3. Once cooked, remove from the heat and drain the water, fluff the quinoa with a fork and serve.

It’s great to eat with any salad, it can be used to make a gut friendly breakie and even a desert by mixing it with different oils and milks. Warning, it can be quite bland if not prepared correctly so when preparing pick recipes which have lots of herbs and spices added.

Here’s a yummy recipe for Halloumi and Quinoa Salad to get you started:

Ingredients:

4 tomatoes

Small red onion finely sliced

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Olive oil

1 tsp ground cumin

100g quinoa

Sliced halloumi cheese

Handful parsley leaves

Pitta bread and natural yogurt, to serve

 Steps:

  1.  Heat the (fan) oven to 200C. Put the tomatoes on a baking tray, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and season. Roast for 25 minutes until the edges are all frizzled.
  2. Put the onion, vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil and cumin in a bowl with lots of seasoning and toss.
  3. Follow my above instructions to cook the quinoa
  4. Then toss the quinoa in with the onion and dressing.
  5. Grill the halloumi until golden (try and not eat the cheese at this stage!)
  6. Toss the parsley and tomatoes with the quinoa mix then top with slices of halloumi.
  7. Serve with pitta bread and yogurt and bask in the glory of creating a fast, delicious and healthy meal!

Some more fun quinoa recipes:

Creamy coconut quinoa pudding

Quinoa with a kick of cayenne and turmeric

 

2013 The Year of Doing, March

2013

2013 has been christened the ‘The Year of Doing’ by myself and my friends. It’s the year to stop talking about doing things and actually do them. To get the ball rolling I’ve broken the things I want to try ‘give up’ and things I’ve always wanted to ‘take up’ into different monthly challanges! Each one will last for the month before I report back on how it went. This is my review of how my 3rd month went…

Give Up: Meat + Fish

In my early teenage years I ‘went veggie’ for a few years for humanitarian reasons, that was until one cold Irish morning I woke up to the smell of my Dad cooking the family a fry up- rashers, sausages, pudding, eggs and mushrooms.

smiley face fryThat is one tantalising smell… Something inside me broke, I forgot about the poor pink piggies and I legged it downstairs ordering him to divvy me up ‘2 rashers, sausages and an egg- STAT!’ I haven’t looked back since, and eat meat/ fish with most meals, until this month…

I decided I wanted to try this no meat/ fish challenge for the following reasons:

  • Through my Wellness research I was totally grossed out to learn how commercial farming routinely administers low-dose antibiotics to their livestock to prevent disease spreading in the unsanitary conditions they keep the animals and also to promote rapid growth. The effects these antibiotics have on humans is disputable, but it’s safe to say that every time we eat a piece of factory farmed chicken/ beef, or dairy for that matter, we’re eating antibiotics, pesticides, steroids and hormones. Mmmmm, nom nom…

Shocker alert- half of all the antibiotics made in the US are administered each year to animals!

  • According to The Blood Type Diet (which I blogged here) my digestion system would better suit a veggie diet. As I’ve always had a very dodgy digestion this sounded pretty good to me.
  • I’ve been faily freaked out by the Horse Meat Scandal which rocked Europe over the last few months and worry that this story maybe the tip of a food fraud iceberg…

So how did the month go? This was a weird one, a game of two half’s if you will…

The first two weeks were great.

  • I loved cooking all the different veggies and trying out the veggie options when eating out. Actually I think I’ll do a blog post or two on all the yummy stuff I ate 🙂
  • My veggie intake soared and I was easily eating my 5 a day, everyday
  • My digestion system was the best it has ever been, with a massive reduction in bloating, gas, too little or too much pooping!
  • I also managed to get other people on board by cooking a delish 3 course veggie Mother’s Day meal for the rentals. I also got my carnivore boyfriend to eat more vegetables- he knowingly ate kale for the first time and loved it!

In the 2nd two weeks everything came crashing down. I found I was hungry ALL THE TIME. I would wake in the morning with hunger pangs which were actually painful and never felt truly full after a meal. I also realised my energy and motivation had reduced greatly. And to make matters worse, I was putting on weight (4 pounds over the month!).

Verdict: I am not a vegetarian. I would love to be able to be one and think it’s a very healthy decision to make but I don’t think it’s a diet that suits me. However I’ve decided I’m defiantly not going to be as reliant on meat and fish as I once was.  This month has made me realise I had a massive over reliance on meat- a meal wasn’t considered to be an actual meal in my mind unless there was a portion on meat somewhere on the plate.

So, instead of being a meat eater who also eats vegetables on the side, I’m going to be a veggie eater who sometimes eats meat/ fish on the side (all of which I will try and ensure are organic/ sustainable).

Take Up: Reading

Reading

Something happened about 5 years ago that stopped my good habit of reading each night before going asleep… the introduction of my iphone. Since then my iphone (and subsequent ipad) has monopolised my spare time and my books sit unread, like neglected children, on my bookshelf.

I miss reading. I miss the feeling you have when you have a good book waiting for you. I also think my English and vocabulary is getting bader (!) without reading regularly.

Therefore I embraced this ‘challenge’ like an old friend.

I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon pottering though 2nd hand book shops in The Blackrock Market where I choose the below books and read, to varying degrees of success:

Books

I’m afraid after this month is over and the motivation to read wanes I will revert back to my ipad. Therefore I’ve set up a Book Club with some friends. It’s a great mix of people, who are all interested in different areas and topics so I think we’ll get to read some great books! I’ve chosen our first book, a thriller (my favourite type!), by Gillian Flynn called ‘Gone Girl’- fingers crossed it goes down well 🙂

Verdict: I found this ‘challange’ to be extremely hard. Each night before I drift off to sleep the last thing I want to be is ‘disciplined’ and pick up a book over a quick Facebook stalk on my ipad. However, when I did actually read I loved it. I really hope the Book Club is successful as I definitely need some motivation to keep that damn ipad away from me!

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