September: A month for a fresh start

Boy, oh boy, did I have a good summer- friends weddings, mini city breaks, a week-long holiday in Italy, lots of wine and bread, dinners, nights out and lots and lots of sugar, salt and delicious toxins!

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As much as I’ve loved the summer and all the indulgence, it’s left me feeling a bit ‘off’. My skin is back looking rubbish, my energy levels are bottoming out again- I long to be back in bed most days, my brain fog is creeping back, my mood is also defiantly darker and my old tumtum is playing up a fair bit.

I’ve always loved September, for me it brings with it a sense of ‘fresh starts’ – more so than January does. I associate January with being broke, cold and depressed while September for me is the time of new books, shiny new shoes, hikes on crunchy Autumn leaves, hearty meals, routine and new habits. In fact it was this time last year that I first decided to stop just ‘investigating’ wellness and holistic health and actually start living it.

(Basically, last September, after a particularly fun night out with friends I decided to walk the whole way home, a 30 minute walk,  at 2:30 AM, down quiet, deserted streets, all alone –  just so I could get cheese and garlic chips from my local chipper. I know, I know, so dangerous, such a flippen eejit.

I woke up the next morning, with a horrible hangover, eye make up everywhere, the remains of the chips on the coffee table and I decided I had had enough. I decided then and there I didn’t want to be ‘that’ girl no more and gingerly set out to become the person I wanted to be).

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So, on this note I’ve decided that this September is again going to be my wellness ‘fresh start’. I’m going to go back to:

  • Drinking lemon and hot water each morning
  • Reducing my coffee intake to 1 skinny latté every other day
  • Doing a big veggie/ fruit shop each week so I’m more prepared for the week ahead
  • Eating at least 5 different fruits/ veg a day
  • Dry body brush before my shower everyday (not just at the weekends!)
  • Drinking 2 liters of filtered water a day (…must buy a filter!)
  • Get my body moving for at least 20 minutes every day– more yoga, get out and start walking in my lunch break, using our new gym.
  • Meditate more often (perhaps I’ll start a meditation class?)
  • Consciously work on silencing my ‘ego’ or ‘negative DJ’- she’s getting awfully loud and agressive lately
  • Reduce my reliance on cheese and bread and actively seek out and make new alternatives
  • Drinking either a juice or smoothie everyday
  • Cut out all beer and cocktails, they seem to be making an unwelcome return
  • Reduce my reliance on Facebook and Daily Mail… those bloody sites will be the death of me!!
  • Replace all my supplements which have long run out
  • Buy a vegan cook book and become more confident with vegan recipes
  • Take more time to Skype all my BFF’s living in far off places- I always feel 100% times more connected and grounded after a good old natter!

Yup, I think that is enough to keep me going! Here’s to feeling back fit and healthy by Christmas!

Clean Cleaning

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As anyone who has lived with me will know, I’m a little bit of ‘a Monica’ when it comes to cleaning, i.e. I verge precariously on the OCD cliffs and could easily disappear down the hole- if I had a less busy social life or cared more about germs.

One Saturday morning, as I sprayed what must of been a half a bottle of bleach around our windowless and particularly filthy bathroom, I started to wonder what the chemicals were doing to my lungs or what the chemicals I had used to wash the kitchen floor was doing to our bear feet. I decided there and then to try and educate myself on whether it’s possible to conduct ‘clean cleaning’. Here’s what I discovered…

  • It turns out that companies aren’t actually required to put their ingredients on their cleaning products because their formulas are considered protected trade secrets so you can’t actually be 100% sure what you are spraying. I don’t know about you but that just seems wrong to me.
  • Obviously no one wants filthy dirty germy surfaces and toilets but according to my research it’s not only lot cheaper but also safer to clean your house with common, non-toxic household staples. Have a look yourself here

So, like my attempt at cleaning up my food intake and regular beauty products, I’ve also started trying to replace my ‘dirty’ cleaning products. Here’s some replacement ideas:

(I found the following safe cleaning products on Jess Ainscough’s – the ‘official’ Wellness Warrior- website)

Clearing drains

  • No more of that ridiculously toxic, ‘wear- safety- goggles- and- gloves-when- using’ crap, instead I pour down a handful of baking soda mixed with 1/2 cup of white vinegar when my drains annoy me. Trust me- this one works a treat!

Bathroom and kitchen surfaces: Homemade baking soda paste- again works like magic

  • Dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 4 tablespoons of water.
  • Use a soft cloth to rub the paste onto the surface to be cleaned.
  • Wipe off with a clean cloth and buff to shine.
  • This can also be used to clean pots and pans and the inside of your fridge.

Shower

  • Clean shower doors with white vinegar.
  • Spray or wipe on and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing off.
  • Sponge shower curtains with water and baking soda.

Toilet

  • Pour 150ml white vinegar into the toilet bowl and brush before flushing.
  • Disinfect your loo with a solution of 10 drops of tea tree oil in 115ml of water. Leave it in the bowl until the next flush.
  • Wipe the toilet seat with an all-purpose surface cleaner made from 600ml white vinegar, 300ml water and 20-30 drops eucalyptus oil.

 Drainage holes and taps

  • Rub a cut lemon to remove grease and lime scale
  • Remove lime scale from taps with a soft cloth dipped in white vinegar.
  • Scrub away rust and grime from around the taps with an old toothbrush coated with a mixture of 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

More clean cleaning ideas can be found here 

However if all this talk of measuring and mixing makes you feel like a crazy scientist, there are of course clever people who make clean products for us to use instead…. Sooooo much easier!

These nice people include:

  • Ecover- which can be bought in Tesco/ Dunnes/ most Health Food shops and online

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  • Or, if you’re feeling loaded, try Jessica Alba’s new website Honest on for size

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Happy clean cleaning! 😉

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

 

Lemon and Hot Water Fan Club

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We’ve all heard you should start your day with hot water and lemon- everyone from Weight Watchers to Oprah recommends it, but why? Why is everyone banging on about lemon and hot water?! Well, let me tell ya…

As I mentioned before, I’ve been doing some research into Ayurveda practices, which is where this practice actually originates from. It says drinking hot water and lemon each morning will ‘align the body with nature’s rhythms and balance the doshas’… which basically is a load of gobbildygook to me!

So I’ve looked else where and here’s some reasons to get on board:

1. Helps with weight loss: Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings.

2. Aids digestion: Science Bit: the warm water serves to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis and the waves of muscle contractions within the intestinal walls that keep things moving. The non science bit: This stuff keeps you regular.

3. Boosts your immune system: Lemons are high in Vitamin C- Vitamin C is great for fighting colds.

4. Balances pH: Lemons are an alkaline food. I’ll fill you in on this soon but alkaline (as apposed to acidic foods) promote an alkaline body, which is really the key to good health.

5. Stimulates the liver: aka great for a hangover!

I try to have a cup of warm water (not boiling- as you’ll destroy the live enzymes in the lemon) and the juice from half a lemon every morning and feel nicely ‘cleaned out’ and cleansed by the time breakie/ lunch comes around. I also like the calming effect it has on, what can be frantic, morning routine!

PS I’ve also heard adding a sprinkle of cayenne pepper with lemon increases the detoxing effect and raises the temperature of your body increasing your metabolism but I’m not too fond of the taste that early in the morning, so I’m leaving that step out.

This Food Babe blog post really hit the benefits home to me.

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