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An A to Zen of Health and Wellness…

Written by Elisa Henry Morton, Holistic Health Coach

With so many buzzwords making their way through the wellness world it’s hard to distinguish your kombucha from your kefir, let alone know what is fact from fiction. In this month’s blog we help you break down some of the latest trends as well as celebrate some time-honored techniques that we love!

A – AYURVEDA Ayurvedic Medicine is one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world. It incorporates diet, exercise, breathwork, meditation, yoga, visualization, therapeutic massage and herbs to treat illness and promote thriving health. The three doshas, vata (ether and air), pitta (fire and water), and kapha (water and earth) are the guiding principles and basic energy types in the Ayurvedic healing philosophy. Ayurvedic medicine believes that disease results from the three doshas not being in balance and the presence of toxins within the body.

B – BALANCE Maintaining a well-balanced lifestyle isn’t just crucial for your health, happiness, and well-being but is essential for boosting productivity, managing stress, and unleashing your true potential. It’s impossible to feel balanced and be productive when you are running at 1,000 miles an hour and always switched ON. To help create balance in your life try scheduling regular breaks throughout the day and on weekends, embrace a healthy lifestyle, learn to prioritize what’s important to YOU, and avoid negative people!

C – CHAKRAS There are seven main chakras, which align the spine, starting from the base of the spine (root) through to the crown of the head (crown). The seven chakras are the centers in our bodies in which energy flows through – they are the crown, third eye, throat, heart, solar plexus, sacral and root (spine).

D – DETOXING Vs DETOXIFICATION Detoxification is what our bodies do naturally, without any particular diet or nutritional plan. Without any special instruction, our body works and interacts with other organs to neutralise, transform and remove harmful substances (toxins). Detoxing on the other hand is when people radically change the way they normally eat, drink and behave; focusing on fresh, anti-inflammatory foods, increased plants, hydration and avoiding toxic vices.

E – ELIXIR If you thought a cold-pressed juice or smoothie was healthy, an elixir is next-level. Created with a more concentrated dose of nutrients, and made with fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and herbs, an elixir is designed to give you an instant boost. Feeling rundown or a little blah, try mixing lemon, honey, apple cider vinegar and freshly grated ginger in room-temp water and enjoy immediately!

F – FELDENKRAIS The Feldenkrais Method® uses a process of organic learning, movement, and sensing to improve posture, flexibility, coordination, athletic and artistic ability and to help those with restricted movement, chronic pain and tension.

G – GRATITUDE According to the Harvard Medical School, Gratitude is “a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives … As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.”

H – HEMP Hemp is the fiber and seed part of the cannabis plant. High in insoluble and soluble fiber, hemp seeds provide more than enough bulk to keep your gastrointestinal system regular. High in GLA, an essential omega-6 fatty acid, hemp has been proven to naturally balance hormones, improve skin, hair and nail health and provide an excellent 3:1 balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which promote cardiovascular health.Try adding them to your smoothie, yoghurt or as a salad topper.

I – INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE Integrative medicine is an approach that puts the patient at the center of their care and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health. Through patient-practitioner partnership, the patient’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances are all taken into consideration, together with the most appropriate interventions from an array of scientific disciplines to heal illness and help people regain and maintain optimal thriving health.

J – JUICING After gaining popularity as a quick-fix diet for A-listers wanting to slim down for an event, juice fasts and detoxes are thankfully becoming a thing of the past. Instead of a meal replacement a juice is a great option for adding MORE greens into your day. For best results, focus on dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach and dandelion; and minimize your fruit opting for ingredients like lemon, ginger and mint instead!

K – KOMBUCHA Kombucha is produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria. During the fermentation process a large amount of probiotic bacteria is produced. By consuming probiotics (found in Kombucha) you can increase your ability to fight colds, help lower cholesterol and promote a healthy gut. High in antioxidants, Kombucha is a great alternative to soda but be on the lookout for sugar content and opt for varieties with less than 5 grams of sugar.

L – LEMON DETOX No longer a passing fad, consuming lemon water daily can help to flush your system of toxins, alkalize your body, kick-start your digestive system and keep it working to its maximum potential. This daily ritual will give you more energy, fight off inflammation and provide you with an instant health boost. Try this first upon rising or first thing in the morning – simply squeeze the juice of one lemon into a quart of water, room temp filtered water is best.

M – MINDFULNESS Not just the latest buzz word, mindfulness is the practice of maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment. When practicing mindfulness, we accept our thoughts and feelings but do not judge them – we understand that there is no right or wrong way to think or feel. Mindfulness is a great way to tune into current sensations instead of analyzing past situations or imagining what the future will bring.

N – NIGHTSHADES Nightshade vegetables are part of the Solanaceae (Solanum dulcamara) plant family, which contains about 98 genera and well over 2,000 different species! The most common varieties of nightshades include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. Despite being extremely healthy, they can be a trigger for some people causing an immune reaction. For this reason they are often considered a major player in any elimination diet and food allergy testing plans.

O – OIL PULLING The practice of oil pulling (also called gundusha) started in India thousands of years ago and has been gaining popularity in the wellness community in recent years. To do; take 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil and swish in your mouth for up to 20-minutes before spitting into a trash can and rinsing with warm water. Oil pulling is believed to improve oral health and whiten teeth. Other benefits include improved skin, balanced hormones, improved allergy symptoms and more.

P – PILATES Pilates is a physical fitness system that was developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates. Pilates was formed by Joe during the First World War with the intention to improve the rehabilitation programme for casualties. During this period, Pilates was designed to aid injured soldiers in regaining their health by strengthening, stretching, and stabilising key muscles. Pilates classes build strength, flexibility and lean muscle tone with an emphasis on lengthening the body and aligning the spine, rather than on bulking and shortening the muscles.

Q – QUINOA Pronounced keen-wah, Quinoa was known to the Incas as ‘the mother of all grains’ and was first cultivated over 5,000 years ago. Naturally gluten-free, quinoa provides essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help regulate the digestive system and keep you fuller for longer and more satisfied. Ready in less that 15 minutes this is a great ingredient to keep on hand for bulking up salads or for a breakfast alternative.

R – ROLLING Foam rolling is an easy way to stretch out muscle fatigue and soreness, break down scar tissue and is an effective tool for self-massage. Great for larger muscle groups like quads, hamstrings and glutes, a foam roller is great for combating stiffness and assisting with muscle recovery.

S – SAUNA An infrared sauna is a type of sauna that uses both heat and light to detoxify the body. Commonly known as far-infrared or near-infrared saunas, these models omit infrared light waves that create heat in the body. Not only is a sauna a great way to relax, it is hugely beneficial for sweating and releasing stored toxins.

T – TURMERIC Curcuma longa is the active ingredient in turmeric. Commonly used as a seasoning and the main ingredient in curry powder, turmeric helps to protect the liver against toxins, aids circulation, lowers cholesterol and improves blood vessel health. Turmeric has both antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties making it highly effective when treating arthritic conditions. Try adding grated turmeric into your morning elixir!

U – UNPLUG In a world ruled by social media it has become more necessary than ever to unplug! Blue light and EMF exposure aside, neuroscientists have found that disconnecting from our devices (even if just for a few hours) not only helps to reduce stress and insomnia, but can also help to improve mood and posture – goodbye stiff neck!! Why not use this as an opportunity to commit to one digital detox per week.

V – VEGETARIANISM Vs VEGANISM Vegans are vegetarians that take things one step further by avoiding all animal products in their diets. This is often done by making a commitment to eating more plant foods, especially fruits and vegetables, along with 100 percent whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. A vegetarian diet although consisting predominantly of plant-based foods does also include eggs and dairy.

W – WHOLE FOOD DIET  A whole food eating plan focuses on consuming mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes and minimizes (or excludes) meat, dairy, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods, refined sugar, and oil. By removing or reducing your intake of processed foods, you can avoid consuming excessive calories, help to prevent weight gain and even lose weight. Whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, are a high source of dietary fiber, which helps fill you up and keep you feeling full for longer.

X – XRCISE Sometimes used as punishment, to reverse poor food choices, or for the sole purpose of losing weight, exercise and fitness has now evolved to encompass mental, emotional and spiritual health. Just as healthy eating should be a daily focus, we also need to make sure we are making the time to move every day and allowing time to recover. Exercise should feel good – the trick to enjoying it, find something you love and it will no longer feel like a dreaded chore or something you ‘should’ do.   

Y – YOGA Therapeutic Yoga uses traditional yoga poses to strengthen muscles, improve core strength, increase joint range of motion, improve neuromuscular control and balance, and incorporates breathing and meditation to fine tune the entire mind-body spirit.

Z – ZEN Zen is a Japanese word derived from the Sanskrit term dhyana,  meaning “ultimate meditation”. It is a school of Buddhism that focuses on meditation and the core dynamics of nature, heavily influenced by Taoism. In modern society, we commonly refer to being Zen as a way to to calm down or relax through chaotic times. Zen has become a lofty term used for people to detach themselves from stress… even though this is rarely achieved. Note: See balance above!! 🙂