Over the festive period we all seem to abandon our regular health and fitness regimes for a more intense and exaggerated version of life in the name of celebration. To make sure we compensate for this let’s look forward to getting back into the realm of healthy living (or start now if you feel inspired!).
So what is the perfect diet? An impossible question to answer as obviously we are all different, however, we can look at our fundamental similarities and functions which can provide a base for what everybody requires for maintaining a healthy, balanced body and mind. One key word here is “mind”; when looking into diet it isn’t very often that the heath of the mind is considered. We all know we must eat fruits and vegetables, keep hydrated, etc. in order to maintain a healthy body yet the mind also plays a huge part in our overall wellbeing. So the best way to live healthily is to take care of both and balance our mental health, as well as our physical, in order to find harmony.
If our body isn’t working well, neither will our mind, and vice versa.
An anti-inflammatory diet combined with meditation is claimed to be a great way to provide the perfect balance for both. Deepak Chopra claims that this is what our cells would request if they could they speak! This isn’t a referral to the beneficial, acute inflammation which assists in our healing, but the inflammation that occurs through trauma; the harm that we inflict on ourselves when we do not eat well, a side effect from infection, or from having an unhealthy immune system – often resulting from lifestyle factors like stress and a lack of exercise. Chronic inflammation results when the immune system releases chemicals meant to combat injury and bacterial and virus infections, even when there are no foreign invaders to fight off. Processed food is not just something we should avoid at times, it is actually toxic, we should never eat it. The toxic chemicals within such foods can leak through the digestive tract and cause the trauma which leads to chronic inflammation. This inflammation can go unnoticed and can lead to serious disorders such as hypertension, heat disease, cancer, allergies, asthma, arthritis, stroke, gout, IBS and Crohn’s disease.
An anti-inflammatory diet is organic, fresh, nutrient-dense, unprocessed, high in fibre, low in sugar and salt, avoids preservatives and trans-fats in order to keep the microorganisms in your intestines healthy and prevent the seeping of toxins into the blood as well as assist the immune system. If your digestive system is flourishing and functioning efficiently it sends positive messages of well-being to the brain and heart. This type of diet can also lead to weight loss, along with regular exercise, which, in turn can also improve metabolism.
The microorganisms in the gut do not just respond to diet but also our emotions, and therefore stress. This is where the mediation and mindfulness comes in. Our health relies on us being at peace internally; a ten minute meditation or time-out to relax or do something beneficial that you enjoy (take a bath, go for a walk, sit on your favourite bench, read a book, practice yoga, stretch) each and every day. We must carve out this precious and important time for ourselves in order to find our own happiness, reduce stress and therefore maintain well-being. Deepak strongly recommends the combination of an anti-inflammatory diet alongside the practice of meditation in order to achieve optimum health. The emotional and psychological benefits of meditation can help you to reduce resentment, grievance, and reduce any negative (and therefore harmful) emotions and stress.
To identify with our body’s physical and mental needs is paramount in maintaining a long and healthy life.
Tips on Following an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Eat five to nine servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables each day:
Berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
Dark green leafy vegetables (such as kale, spinach, and collard greens)
Nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts)
Beans (such as red beans, pinto beans, and black beans)
Whole grains (such as oats and brown rice)
Dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cocoa)
Lower (but don’t avoid altogether) your intake of foods high in omega-6 fatty acids while increasing your consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as flaxseed, walnuts, and oily fish; salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring). Maintain a balance of the two.
Replace red meat with healthier protein sources, such as lean poultry, fish, beans, and lentils.
Swap margarine and vegetable oils for the healthier fats found in olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
Instead of choosing refined grains, opt for fibre-rich whole grains like oats, quinoa, brown rice, bread and pasta that list a whole grain as the first ingredient.
Rather than seasoning your meals with salt, enhance flavour with anti-inflammatory herbs like garlic, ginger, and turmeric.
Breakfast foods: breakfast smoothie, chia bowl, oatmeal.
Lunch: salad with quinoa and vegetables, soup, grilled salmon.
Snacks: fresh blueberry fruit salad, apples, nut butter, walnuts, chia seed pudding, guacamole.
Beverages: ginger turmeric tea, green juice, green smoothie, herbal tea, turmeric tea, green tea.
Tips on Meditation
If you don’t already practice it, there are plenty of places online to begin with guided meditations. I personally began with Oprah and Deepak’s 21-day meditations as they are grounded, inspiring and designed to suit almost everyone.
Start with a few minutes a day and don’t expect your entire world to change after a few days. You’ll slowly and surely come in to a rhythm that is meant for you, it is such an individual process. The idea is to embody calm and release negativity.
Try to carve out a daily time for your practice in a comfortable, quiet, light and [...]
With the summer heat waves starting to set in, there is no better time to turn to herbs that can cool us down and help re-energize the body for all of our hot weather adventures! During the hot months of summer, we can accumulate excess heat in the body, resulting in symptoms such as hot...
The post 8 Best Herbs For Seasonal Lethargy & Fatigue appeared first on Herbal Academy. [...]
A screengrab from Counter Culture Coffee’s Instagram, aNorth Carolina-based roasters who’ve established a national presence with their well-sourced single estate coffees.
NEW YORK, July 31 — It’s the middle of summer, and farmers markets are a riot of colourful berries, stone fruit, and tomatoes.Don’t let them fool you.Seasonal food is in quiet retreat. Over the past few years, the most popular ingredients have been decidedly winter items such as beets, kale, and cauliflower, ubiquitous on restaurant menus and in markets no matter what time of year it is. (Don’t forget, escargot is the hot ingredient this summer.) The rise of vertical farming also means more and more heirloom tomatoes are ready to slice in the middle of winter.In fact, the biggest culinary signifier of fall no longer comes from the produce department. It’s provided by Starbucks Corp., and it is, of course, the Pumpkin Spice Latte. The much-loved/much-maligned drink, flavoured with cinnamon and ginger, is enough of a seasonal message that when the release date was moved up to early September, it provoked an outcry.Now coffee companies are taking the promise of that a step further, not with flavourings or mere marketing — ”winter” or “Christmas” blends are nothing new — but with seasonal beans. While most coffee drinkers see the roasting date as the all-important determiner of a coffee’s freshness, there’s an increasingly pervasive school of thought that believes the harvest date merits more attention.You can find brews made with seasonally harvested beans at regional establishments such as Chicago’s Colectivo Coffee; Qualia Coffee in Washington; Dogwood Coffee Co in Minneapolis; Ruby Coffee Roasters in Wisconsin; Philadelphia’s Reanimator Coffee Roasters; and Relevator Coffee, based in Birmingham, Alabama.Counter Culture Coffee, the North Carolina-based roasters who’ve established a national presence with their well-sourced single estate coffees, is especially focused on brews that change with the seasons. (For those obsessed with tracking harvests, their website has a very cool calendar and map.)Now, Intelligentsia Coffee Inc, the 23-year-old Chicago-based darling of the third-wave coffee movement, is making a bigger deal about it as well.In 2008 the company created a special sticker to affix to bags of beans harvested at a certain time. The stickers highlighted a few seasonal offerings among its single-origin beans. “It was inspired by the sticker on fresh fruit. We wanted to subtly recall customers’ memories of that label,” says James McLaughlin, president and chief executive officer.“What we noticed in our lab is that the number of days ‘off harvest’ is more important than the number of days ‘off roast’,” he says. “You have a nine-month window to get it packed up and shipped. After that, there’s a degradation of quality. You pick up notes of age.”This year, Intelligentsia has about 20 “In Season” coffees sourced from the Northern Hemisphere. The harvest for beans grown north of the equator (e.g., Mexico and Ethiopia) is roughly from late December through March, making them ideal for consuming through summer and early fall. Come winter, Intelligentsia will switch to promoting about 26 coffees from the Southern Hemisphere (e.g., Peru and Papua New Guinea), which are harvested from July to September.McLaughlin says the company has seen a 10 per cent increase in in-season coffee sales from the first half of 2017 to the first half of 2018, but he won’t release exact sales figures.At a tasting at Intelligentsia’s New York location in the High Line Hotel, near its converted Citroën coffee truck, I sampled a handful of recently released in-season offerings.The Los Inmortales coffee from El Salvador (US$19 or RM77/12 oz) had a rich, direct, honeyed-peach flavor. Printed on the candy-red package were harvest dates, from November 2017 to January 2018, and a roast date of July 2. If that delay makes the beans seem less than fresh, consider that they must be dried, processed, and sorted before being exported, all of which takes several months; in-season coffee is a bit of a looser term than we traditionally think of for fruits and vegetables.Another coffee I tried, the just-released Ethiopian Tikur Anbessa (US$24/12 oz), harvested in late January 2018, had a much tangier passion fruit taste that was equally direct. The third, Geisha Village (US$19/12 oz, but it’s already sold out), also from Ethiopia, had the flavour of chocolate and spices; it evoked an (unseasonal) cup of mulled cider.In general, the in-season coffees had a pronounced sweetness that I don’t find in Stumptown’s Rwanda Huye Mountain coffee, my usual morning drink.Intelligentsia, which was acquired by Peet’s Coffee & Tea Inc in 2015, is in the midst of expanding. It has 10 coffee bar locations around the US, with openings in Boston and Los Angeles this year. It’s increasing its retail presence as well. “The number of grocery stores that carry Intelligentsia coffees will increase from 554 in 2017 to over 2,000,” McLaughlin says.He names the company’s most popular seasonal coffees as La Perla de Oaxaca from Mexico, La Tortuga from Honduras, and Flecha Roja from Costa Rica. The company is in the process of redesigning the in-season stickers to make them more prominent and to expand the program on its website, which isn’t as robust as the one on the Counter Culture site.“We’ve seen customers form attachments to the names and coffees, often asking our baristas when their favourite seasonals will return,” McLaughlin says. — Bloomberg [...]