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!

Juicing: The drink that packs a punch

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As per my past blog posts coffee is bad, soft drinks are bad, fruit juices are bad, alcohol is bad, tap water is bad (actually I haven’t done a blog on that yet, but I will, ooooh I will). At this stage your thinking ‘well what in the bleedin heck can I bloody well drink‘?  Good point, I’ve been a bit of a Negative Nancy of late harping on about all the things I’ve given up on this here ‘Wellness Journey’, so I’m going to change tact and talk about all the loverly things I’ve introduced to my diet instead. Numero Uno: Veggie Juice!

Veggie Juice is ‘so hot right now’ mainly cos it’s one of the best ways to extract all the vitamins, minerals and plain old goodness that comes from vegetables. Let’s face it, who wants to be eating 2 cucumbers, 3 handfuls of spinach and kale at 7am- but juicing enables us to get a healthy amount of vegetables in one go to start the day off with a bang!

Veggie Juicing  also delivers the zesty goodness  directly into your blood stream in the quickest way possible as juicing removes fiber, leaving the nutrients with nothing better to do but zoom right into your cells- pow!

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Finally green veggie juice oxygenates the body due to the addition of chlorophyll and enables us to release stored toxins in our bodies, increase our energy reserves and cleanse our system.

Until now I have been getting my Veggie Juice from the lovely people in The Hopsack, Rathmines (mine is the apple, beetroot and ginger one please) or else getting it delivered to my door by the beautiful Fiona from Rawfi. However a little birdie tells me I might be getting my very own juicer for my birthday this year (t-minus two weeks people!) which I’m unbelievably excited about.

(Side Point: it’s funny how life works, if my boyfriend had tried to buy me a kitchen appliance for my birthday last year I would have probably hit him over the head with it, but this year I’m only delighra!)

I’ll be back with more on my Juicing Adventure later, but for now, if you are lucky enough to own a juicer or would like to know more, I recommend having a lookie at this short video by the gorgeous Kris Carr.

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.

Lovely Little Liver

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Now that my January cleans is over and I’m reunited with my beloved red wine I thought I’d share some stuff I’ve learnt about our Lovely Little Livers.

Our Livers are pretty incredible, spending their time removing toxins and waste from our bodies. Over time our Livers are being asked to deal with more and more toxins- toxins in processes food, pesticides in fruit and veg, hormones in farmed fish and meat, chemicals laden lotions we lather on ourselves each morning, to the city fumes we breath in and therefore it can do with a little helping hand once in a while.

There’s a great test that you can do to check out if your liver needs some extra TLC (a test who’s results have been known to shock and horrify some of my friends… you know who you are!!)- Lie on your back on the floor and press the area just below your right rib cage. If the area feels bruised or tender to the touch it’s safe to say your Little Liver needs some care.

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Some ways to help the Lovely Liver are:

  • Drink Dandelion Tea: It eases congestion of the liver. While it’s at that it also helps purify the bladder and kidneys, aids digestion and eases bloating.
  • Put a few drops of Milk Thistle in your water bottle
  • Find ways of eating at least one of the following Liver boosters on a daily basis: turmeric (the new super trendy super food), garlic, leafy greens, carrots and red grapes.
  • Cut down on the products which make your Liver work overtime: alcohol/ caffeine/ processed food/ farmed meat and fish/ fruit and veg from the Dirty Dozen

Time for Tea

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I’ve always loved tea. I’m one of those people who believes that a cup of tea can solve any problem. I even presented a School Talent Show back in my Secondary School as Mrs Doyle, the iconic tea pusher from Father Ted! Therefore it shocks even me to admit I haven’t drank a cup of regular tea for over 6 months (bar a few cups when visiting friend’s houses).

This is mainly due to two things:
A) As per my ‘Belly First’ post, I’m trying to cut caffeine out of my system, due to it messing with hormones, it getting in the way of your system absorpting essential minerals and vitamins from food into our systems (iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins) and it playing havoc with the immune system. Also I was drinking a lot, too much, between 5 – 7 cups of tea/ coffee a day!

B) I’ve whole heartedly embraced a whole new world of herbal tea.

Herbal tea fascinates me, mainly due to it’s sheer efficiency. Side note: I think I may have been a German in a past life due to my love of punctuality and the fact I can’t stand time wasting and inefficiency (German people are like that right? Or is that a terrible generalisation?!). Anyways, bringing this back to tea, I enjoy the fact that when I’m sitting drinking a cup of herbal tea it’s not just providing comfort and warmth but it’s also working some magic on my insides.

Here’s a list of my favourite herbal teas and the efficient magic they work as you sip:
Green Tea: aids digestion, speeds up your metabolism, boosts your immune system, high in antioxidants, reduce abdominal fat, detox the organs from harmful imbalances

Dandelion Tea: It eases congestion of the liver, it helps to purify the bladder and kidneys, aids digestion, it eases bloating, contains calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, vitamins B and C

Camomile Tea: It eases troubled and anxious bodies and minds. It can also help with stomach problems such as menstrual cramps, stomach flu, and ulcers. It has also been proven as a sleeing aid.

Peppermint Tea: Peppermint is a great digestive aid after a large meal. It helps to relieve tension and bloating. It also speeds up the detoxification process (aka a hangover)

Nettle Tea: This is a great one for detoxifying the liver. It’s also high in iron, which makes it an excellent ‘blood-builder’ and is also known to ‘get you regular’

Why not give one of them a try the next time you put the kettle on? In the words of Mrs Doyle, ‘Ahhhh go on, go on, go on, go on… GO ON!’

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