Boosting Immunity With the Goodness Of Lupin Flakes

Every one of you reading this right now will agree that our current world of stress, anxiety and uncertainty is unsettling. 

Good news though – the one thing you CAN control is how you look after yourself – what you choose to eat, how to move, when to get some shut-eye, how to deal with an overload of stress and remembering the good old mechanism of breathing – remember that one?

In the food and nutrition realm, you will see some crazy coo-coo claims being made about what you should do to prevent or cure you from a viral infection. 

You may have also read about foods that boost immunity and they are usually foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals.  It is absolutely true that these nutrients assist our immunity.

Enter lupin flakes. These little yellow flakes of goodness tick many of these boxes in the vitamin and mineral department. They also have some unique superpowers in the boosting immunity department that other foods simply do not.

Lupins are a unique legume that contain 40% protein plus 40% fibre with a small amount of carbohydrate and fat and are completely gluten free.

The Super Boosting Immunity Powers of Lupin Flakes

Good Gut Health

The intestinal tract or gut is a very busy place. There are around 500 species of bacteria hanging out in your gastrointestinal tract, mostly in the large bowel.  Not only do they live there in peaceful coexistence with us, they may actually help. These bacteria keep out disease-causing bacteria and viruses, keep our immune system healthy and maintain the lining of the bowel.

Under some circumstances, the normal mix of these bacteria gets disrupted. Not surprisingly, stress is a major factor that upsets this balance.

Our gut wall houses around 70% of the cells that make up our immune system, so gut function is super important.  This is where probiotics and prebiotics start to shine.

Probiotics are live bacteria that are naturally found in our gut and in some foods. They improve our health by reducing the number of harmful bacteria that may survive in our gut. 

Prebiotics on the other hand are very different. They are mostly soluble fibres and resistant starches that act as fuel for our good bacteria in the large intestine. They get the party started by being fermented by gut bacteria and boosting the balance of our microbiome to be healthier.

Hello lupin flakes. Lupin flakes are a rich source of prebiotics due to their high content of resistant starch. This means they are super powerful bacteria and rather clever at boosting immunity.

Power Up With Protein

Did you know that protein is essential for the repair and regeneration of cells and one of the front-runners for fighting viral infections?

Protein is made up of amino acids, which are just like building blocks similar to Lego. Amino acids are classed as either essential as they cannot be manufactured by the body. These are only accessible through food or non-essential.

Inthe plant world, it can be truly difficult to get enough of these essential proteins. Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, red kidney beans and other similar friends contain just 5-8% protein.  Lupin flakes boast a mighty 40%!

Lupin flakes are multi-faceted too as they can be used as an alternative to meat but do just as well as an alternative or addition to rice or pasta.  These starchy foods contain only 3-7% protein, so once again lupin flakes storm to the front. And you can actually purchase them, unlike many other foods right now!

For ideas on how you can incorporate lupins into your day and boost your immunity at the same time – check out some recipes of mine here and a ton from The Lupin Co right here.

To purchase the lupin flakes, you can check out stockists or order online by clicking here

Stay well everyone and keep in touch – I am here.

Breathing In and Breathing Out – Bring That Stress Back Into Line

Breathing in and breathing out, breathing in and breathing out.  Right now, this is one thing we can do whilst our world experiences so much angst.  

Without diminishing or belittling the gravity of all affected or who have lost their lives to COVID-19, I am struggling to comprehend the actions and thought processes of some of my fellow humans who are in full panic mode.  When panic surrounds you, it can be difficult to remind yourself not to join the proverbial party. Please keep reminding yourself because this is important.

One of my lovely friends Cath of Conscious Business, has just shared a quote by Seth Godin who has said, “Panic is a choice and so is productive generosity.”  

It sure is.

With the global events that are happening all around us, it is important to remember that there are many things that we CAN actually do to look after ourselves and those around us.

One of the most simple things we do have control over is looking after our wellbeing and the act of simply breathing to keep stress levels at a healthy level.

A few years ago, as a result of self induced stress, I forgot about the importance of breathing and wrote about it on this blog.

I went looking for it today and decided that it was perfect timing to share it again.  

The moment in time that I wrote about eventually passed, as will the current world health events.  

A Story to Tell

Three years ago I experienced something new. It was overwhelming and both a physical and mental storm. I experienced an anxiety attack.

To me, it sounds silly because in the scheme of things, what I was anxious about did not warrant my reaction. If I think about the times or events in my life that should have been more likely to produce such a severe reaction – the weekend in question should not have featured even for a second.

My then 13-year-old daughter, had her first gymnastics competition for the year. She had been in the National Development Program since early primary school, so it was not a new thing. And let me just establish that this girl was a seasoned professional and a total poker face when it comes to competition – she trained for 18+ hours each week and knew her stuff.

Despite this, over recent years – my nervousness and anxiety with competitions had been increasing.

But one particular weekend most certainly took the cake. I made myself physically ill with stomach pains, nausea and a migraine as a result of my anxiety and irrational thinking. I found myself holding my breath at various points of the day – and this was before the competition even started!

There was no sympathy at home either because I was very careful to hide this anxiety – nobody needs that kind of negative energy before they start swinging around bars and pirouetting on beams do they?

My husband is the anti-thesis of anxiety and not many things get his heart rate over 80 bpm. He just reminded me that our girl had done all the preparing and she was fully able to do the doing. Great.

Just before the competition started – one of the other parents who was sitting quite a distance away from me (and clearly had a telescope) called my name – quite fiercely I might add. I turned around and she calmly looked at me and said – ‘breathe.’ Oh yes indeedy, thanks for the reminder.

There are many things that we can do to reduce stress levels in our lives – getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, meditation and so many other ideas from expert people who are far more qualified than I to provide advice on how to manage anxiety.

But you know the one thing that is available to all of us, 24/7? Breathing.

Of course, breathing is something that we do without a seconds thought and yet, when we feel anxious or upset we often start with the whole shallow breathing thing or interval breathing (my fancy way of describing holding ones breath). Every week when I go to my yoga class, its all about the breath. Lets face it, it is almost impossible not to feel calm after yoga (unavailable poses aside) simply because the focus for 75 minutes has been breathing.

Anxiety presents itself in all kinds of circumstances – the work place, at home, sport, in relationships and so many other nooks and crannies. Clearly, deep breathing alone is not the cure-all for anxiety and stress but the beauty of engaging the breath is that you can access it anywhere, anytime without anyone being aware.

Taking three deep breaths in and out through your nose automatically induces calm. Research shows that blood pressure starts returning to appropriate levels, lungs work more efficiently, your brain can do its thing and a churning stomach works a lot better when oxygen is circulating.

Try the simple routine below to dial down the anxiety in three breaths.

The Power of Breathing to Take Down Anxiety

  • Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose (with your mouth closed) and get every last bit of oxygen in that breath. When you reach the end of that breath, hold it for as long as is comfortable and then let it all out through your nose not your mouth. We are going to do two more of these breaths.
  • Again, take a deep breath in through your nose and get every last bit of oxygen in that breath. When you reach the end of that breath, hold it for as long as is comfortable and then let it all out through your nose.
  • For the last time, take a deep breath in through your nose and get every last bit of oxygen in that breath. When you reach the end of that breath, hold it for as long as is comfortable and then let it all out through your nose.

What about you? Do you have a breathing routine that you find to be effective for reducing anxiety?

Passionfruit Cupcakes

Passionfruit Cupcakes had not entered my life until this week when I was gazing at the back of the a pack of a Devondale skim milk powder. I’m not usually someone to make the recipes from the back of packets of food but this time the words Passionfruit and Cupcakes  jumped out at me. Two of my favourite things together can only be a winning combo.

After making these delicious morsels, I posted them up on Facebook and Instagram and it seems that many people have nostalgic memories of Passionfruit Cupcakes from their childhood. Who knew.

I’m just very happy that I can spread the passionfruit love!  We do have a vine growing at home but quite honestly its not pulling its weight at the moment.  There are a grand total of two green ones despite the actual vine looking gorgeous.  Due to this low performance, I used fresh passionfruit pulp (without added sugar) that can be purchased in the jar.  If you have a vine that is actually doing its job, use those guys.

Skim milk powder is definitely the secret ingredient in this recipe (not surprising as it is from Devondale) because it not only provides a calcium boost but it makes them SO fluffy.

Passionfruit Cupcakes

Ingredients

125g polyunsaturated spread or butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup passionfruit pulp

grated rind of one orange

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 cup skim milk powder

1.5 cups self-raising flour

1/2 icing sugar

extra passionfruit pulp

Method

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in eggs, passionfruit pulp, orange rind, water and vanilla.  Mix in skim milk powder and flour.

Spoon into a 12 hole lightly greased muffin tin.

Bake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until the passionfruit cupcakes are golden. Allow to cool.

For the icing – sift the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add small amounts of the extra passionfruit pulp until the mixture is smooth but not too runny. 

If you live with other people big or small, hide at least one for yourself because I can assure you if backs are turned – they will be inhaled.

 

Goal Setting Made Easy – The Guide To Getting Things Done

Goal setting is not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.  The thing is, it’s always this time of the year when society starts sending you messages that you should be doing exactly that.

A few weeks ago, someone that I admire and respect immensely wrote a fantastic article on goal setting. which has a slightly different slant on the usual way of going about it. Gihan Perera is a colleague and friend and I always get something out of his insights.  I think you might too.  

Over to you Gihan.

Most goal setting programs are hard. The system might sound easy, but achieving the goals is difficult. It usually takes discipline, willpower, a strong mindset, hard work, sacrifice and struggle.

I’ve got a different approach to goal setting: This coming year, choose, plan and achieve goals that bring you joy, ease and happiness – not only when you achieve them, but along the way as well.  This of course, flies in the face of most goal setting programs. So be warned that what I’m going to share with you might be controversial, confronting or conflicting with other advice you’ve seen.  But hey – if you do embrace my advice, you will enjoy the next twelve months.  So what have you got to lose?

So do yourself a favour this year: Don’t create goals an activities that involve struggle, complication, hardship and sacrifice.  I know that sounds counter-intuitive, especially if you’ve done other goal setting programs.  But hang in there, I will explain.

There are ten guidelines here, broken down into three areas: Choosing the right goals (four guidelines), planning (3) and taking action (3).

Choose

1. Do what you love

It’s surprising how many people set a goal because they think they “should” do it, or they “need” to do it, or somebody else wants it for them. Those goals are the first to go when life gets in the way.

So only choose goals that you want to achieve. In fact, I’ll go a step further and say you should only choose goals that you will love to achieve. This isn’t about being selfish; it’s about choosing wisely.

2. Love who you’ll be

Think carefully: Are you going to be happy – truly happy – with the person you’re going to become if you do achieve your goals?

If you get that big promotion, will you be OK spending more time away from your spouse and kids? If you go on that carrot juice diet and lose 20 kilos, can you tolerate having to gaze longingly and wistfully at chocolate cake from now until the end of your life? If you get all those business travel opportunities, can you cope with spending wasted hours in airports, taxi queues and hotel rooms?

Be sure you’re willing to accept all the consequences of achieving your goal.

3. Think big

Most people don’t fail because their goals are too big; they fail because their goals are too small. Those goals are easily forgotten or tossed aside when something bigger comes along. So make sure you set big – but achievable – goals.

As Jonathon Kozol says:

“Pick battles big enough to matter; small enough to win.”

4. Know the reason why

It’s not the “what” and “how” of a goal that motivates you; it’s the “why”. Sometimes you’ll end up with something that wasn’t exactly what you imagined, but it still achieves the same result.

Plan

5. Love what you do

Plan to enjoy the journey. If it takes willpower, discipline or sacrifice to achieve your goal, it’s harder to do and easier to slip up. Instead, make it fun!

It’s no fun to crawling out of bed an hour early to exercise, but perhaps you can make it fun by exercising with a friend, so you make it a social event as well.

It’s no fun to set aside 10% of your income for wealth creation, but what if you also set aside another 10% as “play money”, to be spent on fun and frivolity?

It’s no fun to call past customers to bring them back into your fold, but what if you invited them to a cocktail party instead?

6. Hang out with people you like

Life’s too short to spend with people you don’t like, love, inspire or are inspired by.

Decide who you want to spend more time with this year, and make sure they’re part of your journey. They don’t have to be actively involved in helping you achieve your goals – although that’s a bonus. But make sure they’re around. And be especially sure you don’t neglect them while achieving your goals.

7. Get help

Whatever your goals, there’s a good chance somebody else has already achieved them. So find the right mentors and ask for their help. You might have to pay, or you might not. Either way, it’s the best way to fast-track your success.

Do

8. Start before you’re ready

You won’t have all your preparation complete. You won’t know exactly what path to follow. There’s always a reason not to start today. But if you’re waiting for the perfect moment to get started, you’ll be waiting a long time. The perfect moment is now.

9. Take a big step first

A rocket uses most of its fuel in escaping the Earth’s atmosphere. After that, it takes very little energy to keep going.

Many of your goals – especially the biggest and most important goals – are similar. Don’t start with baby steps; start with massive strides. The good news is that often just a few strides can make a big difference, and then everything else is easy.

Obviously I’m not suggesting you do dangerous things, like suddenly taking up squash if you’re unfit. But if it’s OK to start walking for 30 minutes a day, start walking. Don’t “build up to it” with unnecessary little steps – e.g. buying new sneakers, starting a journal to record your progress, telling all your Facebook friends, shopping for a new T-shirt to celebrate the start of the journey, and plotting the optimal walking route for different weather conditions. Sure, these small steps are easy, but it’s the first big step (literally in this case) that matters.

10. Do something every day

Do something towards at least one of your goals every day. After all, why wouldn’t you? These activities are fun, not a burden or a chore. So, in addition to working towards your goals, you’re adding some fun and enjoyment to every day of your life!

More importantly, at the end of the year, you will have taken 365 steps – enjoyable steps – towards achieving your goals. That’s 365 more than the average person.

So that’s it. Those are my ten guidelines for easy goal setting.

 

You can check out Gihan Perera and all he shares by clicking here.

The Eleventh Day Of Christmas – With A Healthy Twist

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…..Eleven emus kicking, ten wombats sleeping, nine crocs a weeping, eight flies a feasting, seven possums playing, six sharks a swimming, five kan-ga-roos, four cuddling koalas, three little penguins, two pink galahs aaaaand a kookaburra up a gum tree.

Emus worry me, they really do and I hope I don’t see any on this eleventh day of Christmas.

Beady little eyes and a lonnnnnnggg neck that looks like it might reach out at any moment and give you a little peck followed up by a quick kick.  An iconic Australian product that features this native animal is the good old Swan Brewery Emu Export beer.  It is still around but not considered to be in vogue now.  

Emu Export beer was and still is a full-strength beer unlike the low carb beers which are gaining popularity in Australia.  The question is, are they the real deal?

Low carb beers are low in carbohydrates but they still contain alcohol and therefore kilojoules.  Choosing a low carb beer over a full strength beer will save you about 100 kilojoules.  In a 375ml can or stubby of full strength beer there will be approximately 13 grams of carbohydrate compared to 0-3 grams in the low carb version, so this could be useful for diabetics but there is still the alcohol content to consider.  

Low carb beers are not the same as ‘light’ beers, which are lower in alcohol and based on this it is a good idea to watch out for the false promises of beer advertisers.

If you are concerned about your weight (and Christmas Day is definitely not the day to be concerned), consider choosing a beer that you enjoy and drinking less of it.

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents on the eleventh day of Christmas, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack – my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  Pick up only now with just a couple of sleeps to go.

Click here for all details.

The Twelve Days of Christmas – With A Healthy Twist

Thanks to three kids, I have a lot of Christmas books. One in particular that has been a huge favourite over many years with them is ‘The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas’ by Heath McKenzie.

A number of years ago, I decided to write twelve daily performance tips inspired by this book and shared them through my then newsletter.  It has been quite a while since I last did that and because they were great fun to write, I have decided to share them again this year, starting today.

This means that you will receive an short post from me each day over the Twelve Days of Christmas. Each will contain a tip or idea that can help you manage your health and wellbeing over this crazy festive season.

Are you in?

The Twelve Days of Christmas Are Fabulous But What About The First Day of Christmas When My True Love Gave To Me…. A Kookaburra In A Gum Tree.

Clearly this means that we should get active and climb a tree or fly a kite maybe? Just in case your body says NO, choose a form of physical activity that you enjoy as it’s time to start putting some exercise in the bank.

We all know that the festive season means party, party, party. It’s just like managing a bank account and if you are budgeting for a big ticket item (like a party or event), this means doing some saving.

Given that the light streams through the windows before 5am, it is so much easier to get up at the moment and get moving. Remember the key elements of a successful workout include:

  • Don’t hit the snooze button like koala’s do – it always seems like a good idea at the time but we all know deep down that it does not equal more sleep.  No, no, no – you are kidding yourself.
  • Put your alarm far enough away from you so that you HAVE to get out of bed to shut it up. I have put it down the hallway many times before.
  • Find a buddy – someone who will stick with you thick and thin and won’t let you down even if they have a hangover. You can read about my thoughts on the buddy system here 
  • Put your clothes and shoes out the night before, there’s nothing like prior preparation to prevent PPP.
  • Oh, and just do it!

Try This Snappy Tis’ The Season Workout

Warm up

5 minute walk 

Workout (Repeat four times)

20 pushups

20 squats

20 dips using a park bench

20 abdominal crunches (check out this video for how to do them safely and effectively)

1 minute step ups on stairs at home or work OR 1 minute of skipping with a rope

Cool Down

Spend five minutes stretching out the muscles you have used by walking around the block.

 

If you are still trudging the shops for Christmas presents, don’t forget about my Christmas Giftpack, my book ‘truth, lies and chocolate’ combined with a delicious WineBar Espresso Martini Chocolate – all beautifully wrapped and ready to go!  Click here for all details.

Gym Junkies of a Different Kind

The gym I test my strength in a couple of times each week is a little different to most others. It’s a local council run facility full of gym junkies (of the nicest possible variety)  and I feel extremely confident I’m never going to see anyone prancing around posing and flexing their muscles. Unless that flexing is to get rid of a muscle spasm.

Some days I’m the youngest by a good 20-30 years but the time I spend there each week provides a priceless package of inspiration and entertainment on top of the fitness benefit.

Five years ago, these gym junkies were featured in a segment on Today Tonight as a result of their fitness and health ethic and you can meet some of them by watching here.

Who Are The Main Players At The Gym?

Take Anton for example: in the vicinity of 70+ years young, who collects his friend Judy on the way to the gym and walks in each morning primed for a chat to solve the issues of the world. Judy can lift so much more weight than me and annoyingly can hold a plank whilst smiling for a couple of years.  I can’t.

Then there is Tom Senior; an almost 86-year-old diabetic who comes even when he doesn’t feel like it. He keeps turning up because he knows from experience that the moment exercise feels great is when you are finished. Plus the company is scintillating.

Tom Junior, also a ex professional cricketer and a mere chick in comparison, is currently doing the rounds of the gym on the bike while he deals with knees that are not happy with years of bowling. And lets not forget Ali, Trudy, Jo and myself who just try and keep up with these guys. 

These gym buddies of mine love a good chat and the odd critique of gym performance, and there is often a great deal of collective tsking when someone demonstrates a new exercise or skill. 

In reality, you can get some good ideas from what others are doing around you. It is too easy to just keep doing what you are doing, which can get you in a rut pretty quickly.

It got me thinking about what the current fitness trends are, so naturally I went straight to Google to find out.

What Are The Fitness Trends Of 2019?

  1. Wearable Technology – this includes everything from fitness trackers, heart rate monitors and GPS trackers.  These days we can track pretty much everything. Sigh.
  2. Group Training – this is classified as a class with more than five participants and could include cardio based classes, dancing, spin classes, boot camps and the like.  I do like group training, especially when you can hide behind someone else for those moments when you are quite simply dying.
  3. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – this is where you engage in a series of high intensity bouts of exercise followed by a short period of rest and recovery.  Let’s just say this is not my favourite and I would prefer to call it RUUUUUUNNNN AWAAAYYYY.
  4. Fitness Programs for Older Adults – my gym buddies are a case in point but lets face it, keeping and staying fit as we get older is probably the Number 1 health tip.
  5. Body Weight Training– Maintaining our muscle mass is crucial, vital, integral and central to the very core of our health. Our physical strength, balance and sending fuel to our brains (muscle mass controls this one) is what keeps us upright and being able to hold conversations when we are 100. Do it, do it, do it.
  6. Employing Certified Fitness Professionals – I am fairly confident that you wouldn’t get your hair cut by a lawn mower. Quite frankly, you could lose ears and perhaps even your scalp.  Choosing a qualified, certified fitness professional is good sense unless you are ok with injuring yourself.
  7. Functional Fitness Training – this involves strength training and other activities to improve balance, coordination, strength and endurance to improve daily living activities.
  8. Personal Training – for some people working with a personal trainer is what keeps them focused and on track. A qualified personal trainer can design workouts specific to you rather than say, your neighbour down the street.
  9. Yoga – oh yoga. Some of you will know that I am a converted lover of yoga and for many reasons it is quite simply a necessary part of my life. So necessary that I will travel a long way to run my Italian Yoga and Wellness Retreat every year. If you haven’t tried it yet – mix up a few different varieties of yoga and or add some extreme heat or attempt the downward dog suspended from the ceiling. I’m not sure whether that last one actually happens but I am sure someone has tried it. Perhaps stick to just the one kind of yoga in one sitting and you don’t have to do it in the blistering heat amid communal sweat to get a benefit.
  10. Exercise is Medicine – imagine doctors including exercise as the prescription rather than drugs. Some already do but healthy professionals do this all the time.  Prevention is always preferable to finding a cure.

The best type of exercise is the one that you actually do. Choose something that you enjoy doing, grab a friend and let the endorphins (and no, this is not a species of dolphins) do their work.

Antioxidants – will we live longer if we eat them?

Antioxidants are compounds in food that research shows can play a role in preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, eye disease and slowing down ageing. Little powerhouses indeed.

Supplement and skincare companies know that youthfulness and staying young is right at the top of our wish lists don’t they? There is every powder and potion known to man, designed to smooth our skin, get rid of wrinkles and stop the ageing process on retail shelves all over the world.

A 2012 meta-analyis of over 70 clinical trials found antioxidant supplements are ineffective or even detrimental to health. The high doses of antioxidants found in supplements can lead to severe health problems.

Just Imagine Being Able to Get Youthful Benefits From the Food You Eat, Instead of Spending Money and Time on False Promises

Firstly, lets look at the science behind these little beauties.  Antioxidants exert their protective effects by preventing damage to body cells and tissues caused by free radicals and singlet oxygen. They sound very impressive but the easier way of remembering what antioxidants do is to picture the 1980’s Pac-Man game where the aim was to get the Pac-Man to gobble as many ‘ghosts’ as possible.

Pac-Man is the antioxidant and the ‘ghosts’ are the free radicals. Thanks to the ‘Pixels’ movie starring Adam Sandler released a couple of years ago, everyone remembers the Pac-Man.

There you have the essential role of antioxidants.

Now About Those Free Radicals

They are produced in the presence of:

  • Cigarette smoke
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Ultra-violet light
  • Radiation
  • Carcinogens
  • High PUFA diet
  • Exercise
  • Inflammation

We need those antioxidants to help mop up those free radicals and thankfully they are conveniently colour coded for easy identification.

Red

Good source of lycopene, which helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer in males.  Found in tomatoes, watermelon, guava, and ruby grapefruit.

Lycopene is among the most powerful antioxidants around. It is a carotenoid that gives tomatoes their red colour and occurs naturally in many red foods, including watermelon and pink grapefruit. Tomatoes do provide a rich source but tomato paste is even better as cooking and processing tomatoes further stimulates and concentrates the lycopene content.  There is no current recommended dosage but suggestions range from 5-35mg per day, which equates to at least one to two servings of tomatoes or tomato products per day.

Orange and Yellow

Good source of beta-carotene, which can protect against a range of cancers.  Found in pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, mango, paw-paw, apricots and rockmelon.

Green

Good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two compounds related to beta-carotene that can protect our eyes as we age.  Found in broccoli, spinach, silver beet, capsicum, chilli, parsley and dark lettuces.

Blue and Purples

Good source of anthocyanin’s for antioxidant and antibacterial properties.  Found in grapes, blueberries, cranberries, beetroot and radicchio lettuce.

Brown

Good source of catechin’s for blood vessel health and of course, our happiness!  Found in some of our favourites such as tea, coffee, chocolate and red wine.

How Many of These Antioxidants Do We Need?

There are no recommended intakes just yet. We do know that it is preferable to consume antioxidants through food rather than supplements, because there are other nutrients in food that enhance their absorption. The average worldwide intake of fruit and vegetables at present is too low and we need to work toward the recommended intake of fruit and vegetables, which are 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables daily.

To keep our bodies zinging on the inside and out during winter, go grab some. Like now.

Make a Choice Not a Sacrifice

To make a choice not a sacrifice is an interesting decision.

Take extreme helicopter pilot, David Adamson as an example. David was born with an innate competitive streak and this streak was put to good use during his childhood in Dumfries, Scotland by kicking around a soccer ball. This Scottish pilot can also juggle 5 balls and ride a unicycle.

So how did that attract him to flying? David suggests he is no different to the majority of males who like loud, noisy machines, with helicopters fitting right into this category. Add a high degree of difficulty to fly properly, their capacity to do spectacular things in the air plus a hefty price tag and he was sold.

Up Close and Personal

David is not your average helicopter pilot. More of the extreme type, although by extreme I don’t mean dangerous. He specialises in low level filming (up close and personal to the water, ground, car, athlete or any moving object) for television productions, documentaries, commercials and sporting events. This requires an exceptional level of skill, endurance, stamina and mental focus. David is engaged by production companies like Disney, BBC, CBS, Foxtel, Discovery Channel, Lonely Planet, National Geographic plus all of the Australian media channels and has worked on a number of films including ‘Drift’ starring Australian actor Sam Worthington.

David’s skills are in demand internationally and it is not uncommon for him to get his passport stamped in a couple of different countries each week.

David’s expertise is highly sought after in the sporting arena including motor sports, adventure races such as Anaconda, the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Surf Ironman Series, Red Bull adventure events and Ironman Triathlon.  TV productions like internationally acclaimed Top Gear, Getaway, Postcards and Surfing the Menu love his work too. As a helicopter pilot, safety is the top priority and David is an Aviation Safety Consultant, Flight and Ground Instructor both in Australia and internationally for pilots, aircrew, general public and the film industry.

When I first saw a photo of David in his helicopter hovering a breath away from a surfer carving up a monster wave at the world-class surfing venue of Margaret River, I knew he would have some unique strategies for his own performance. 

The Committment

While training to be a pilot, David learnt a couple of lessons that he was able to apply to managing his own health when he needed them. Perseverance and commitment was key because the ballpark financial cost of training over a 6-month period was $70,000 AU and required a substantial loan. Getting his first job and runs on the board was very difficult and made all the more stressful with a weighty financial burden in the background. It was during this time that David had to frequently remind himself that although his desire to be a pilot often felt like sacrifice, it was in fact completely his choice.

Frequent and lengthy travel has directly impacted on David’s weight and well being in the past. To rectify these problems, he now consciously makes choices that will benefit his health such as choosing hotels based on the availability of a gym or pool or proximity to healthy food to maintain his fitness and focus.

Mental focus is clearly essential for David’s job as he has to integrate his expert flying skills, weather conditions, logistics of the event or ‘target’ and his own mental and physical well being. His calm persona is obvious in person and in the world of flying this is a highly desirable trait. To avoid stress, David plans ahead and ALWAYS has a contingency plan in place.  This has to be a bonus when in charge of a helicopter!

Which Road Will You Take?

Picture an Olympic year; everybody at home is on the edge of his or her seat glued to the big screen.  At the end of the race the athlete pants, “I’ve given everything to be here.”   It’s true; the overwhelming majority of Olympians have given everything to be one. For each of them, just qualifying for the Olympics has meant years of relentless training, often missing out on socialising with friends and family, continual juggling of work, school and other commitments and for many ongoing financial hardship. It’s not just the athlete but usually their parents and siblings too who have been there all the way supporting them, ferrying them to training and providing the financial back-up to enable to them to pursue their dream.

The big question here is whether these athletes have made a choice or a sacrifice.  A choice is an action you prefer over another action. You get to control it and we all make a myriad of choices each and every day without giving any thought to them.  Will I have cereal or toast for breakfast, what will I wear, shall I get up early and exercise or will I sleep in, should I drive the car or catch the train to work? 

You get to control each and every one of these choices and make a decision. Most of our regular choices fall into patterns and become part of our daily routine. Some of them, however, are important enough to define the quality of our lives.

And What About Those Sacrifices?

A sacrifice is something you “give up” because you’re forced to or because intellectually you know you should; but deep down, you still want it badly. You give it up because continuing would be worse…like smoking, spending time in the sun in the heat of the day without sunscreen or protective clothing, eating a family block of chocolate every day or drinking too much alcohol.

As an added bonus, sacrifices often come as a package deal with resentment and failure. Picture Australian Sally Pearson who won the gold medal in the 100m Hurdle event at the 2012 London Olympics by two-hundredths of a second. We know that there so many choices that this Olympic athlete made along the way to achieve her dream of being the best 100m hurdler in the world. This lightening fast athlete made a choice not a sacrifice to be the best in the world; nobody forced her to do it.

Elite athletes aside, for the everyday person, a health and well-being goal will be something you are contemplating or working toward, something you’d like to achieve that includes a degree of uncertainty and probably difficulty. It’s something you’re trying to accomplish…like losing those stubborn last five-kilo’s, finding calm, balance and happiness in life or starting that exercise class you have been wanting to join for ages. Goals are not a snap and are meant to challenge us and give us direction. 

Imagine This 

Imagine really wanting to do a 12km run that is conducted annually in your state.  You have never run in your life, unless you count the playground way back when. You are willing to train but you can’t fit it in because you are too busy. If you get up earlier, you don’t get enough sleep.  

If you attempt to train after work, you’re too tired. All of these things are choices and decisions that you have made, not sacrifices.  There are some things in your day that are non-negotiable like school and work but be honest with yourself, is there any fluff that you can clear out to make way for your running training?  Block that time out and then add in what you must do to achieve your dream of running 12 km.  If you are too tired to get up in the morning, stop watching TV and go to bed earlier.

Master Chef and MKR are not going to help you get up at 6am are they? If you know that distractions like kids, last minute deadlines, or just general fatigue often occur at the tail end of the day, don’t set yourself up for failure by scheduling training sessions at this time. Aim for the morning sessions and find a buddy to join you. While rest and recovery is essential in any training regime, it can be tempting to hit the alarm and roll over can’t it? Will just this once make a difference? Yes, because lots of ‘just this once’ add up to you not achieving your dream.

What will you do today, will you make a choice not a sacrifice?

 

 

Get Ready, Get Set and Go

Hello to my lovely community,

You may have been reading my blog for a few days, a few weeks or even a few years.  No matter how long you have been part of my gang – I thank you for being part of it.

If you have been here for a while you might have noticed that recently, my blog posts have been a little sporadic and infrequent at the best of times.

I really do love to write but over the last couple of years, I have written less and less as other parts of my business have taken up more and more time.  The thing is, one of the best parts of writing for me is interacting with my readers (that’s you) and providing you with solutions, ideas and inspiration in your quest for your best self and wellbeing.

Why?

I created this blog because I understand on a personal level how hard it can be to look after your mental and physical well-being.  Nobody is perfect all the time and only a robot would be able to eat well at every meal and snack, get eight hours of sleep every single day, not get stressed about anything at all and be blissfully mindful about every little bit of your life.

And that is why I am writing to you on a Friday afternoon as I am considering pouring a glass of wine (small I promise) to go with some lovely cheese as the week comes to an end.

This blog is about to be rebooted, reset and rejigged so that we can talk on the regular about all the aspects of living a healthy life that are important to you in a practical,  realistic way. Lets not forget that life can be busy, hectic, stressful and sometimes full of barriers that sometimes stop you from living your best life.

What?

Every week from here on, you will hear from me about my favourite recipes (obviously only quick and easy ones), new food products that you might like to try, fitness tips and tricks, mindset strategies, facts vs. fairytales and practical solutions on managing your sleep, stress and nutrition.

I’d like to hear about what tickles your fancy in the world of health and well-being and I’d like to give you inspiration and motivation, new information and hope that you can actually do this thing – all with a bit of humour, because really we all need that don’t we?

Lets do this!