"Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well;...
and not today's pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man."
~James H. West

Archive for Celebrating Life

Mar
03

Are You Addicted to Chocolate?

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Why does chocolate make us feel SOOO good and seem to have so much power over us?

 

If you are the type of person who thinks about chocolate all the time and can’t live without it, and if you just can’t even think about saying no or resisting it, then you are probably addicted to it!

You can be both physiologically and psychologically or emotionally addicted to a substance or behaviour and that is what makes it harder to control or give up. 

What is it in chocolate that makes it so “addictive”?

The taste, the texture and the way it makes you feel! 

The main ingredients in chocolate are: cocoa, milk and sugar.

If we break each of these down, we can start to understand the effect each of these has on the body. 

 

Cocoa:

  • Contains compounds that act as stimulants for the central nervous system, so we feel more alert (for example caffeine and theobromine). Theobromine triggers the release of endorphins in the brain and works as a natural antidepressant.   
  • Contains phenylethylamine, which is know for causing emotional highs and lows associated with mood swings, love, pleasure and indulgence.  
  • It also contains important minerals like iron which is needed for blood formation and magnesium which the body needs for muscle movement (contraction and relaxation) and also for the nervous system, so it can help us feel a little relaxed.
  • The heavenly texture can be attributed to the fat.  This pleasurable “mouth feel” associated with fat is probably an evolutionary consequence of the high energy fat could provide in times of famine.
  • Cocoa is also a rich source of antioxidants (protective in the body)

Milk:

  • Contains tryptophan which is converted to serotonin (one of our “happy hormones”) in the brain
  • Interestingly a sensitivity to milk can give rise to cravings for milk.  (You may not be lactose intolerant but you could still be sensitive to milk!  Some partially-digested proteins for example casein in milk or gluten in wheat will form opium like peptides (chains of amino acids) which can bind to special receptors in the brain and are capable of producing a drug-like effect, leaving us wanting more of the very thing that is causing us harm!) (I will cover more on the topic of allergies in future newsletters).

Sugar:

  • (Carbohydrate) aids the transport and absorption of tryptophan into the brain
  • Will provide an increase in blood sugar, which will periodically alleviate the symptoms of low blood sugar (low energy and low mood).

Therefore you can see there is a host of explanations for why chocolate has such an effect on us and it would be so hard to give up.

 

The downside of chocolate:

  • Processed, mainstream chocolate is high in sugar and contains all sorts of other additives to keep it “fresh”.  Anything that causes a rapid increase in blood sugar will inevitably result in a rapid drop in blood sugar, which will affect your energy and your mood short term but has more serious long-term consequences (e.g. diabetes)
  • Caffeine is a stimulant so acts increases stress in the body
  • There are better ways to achieve higher levels of these important nutrients:  e.g. iron (meat, chicken thighs).  Milk hinders iron absorption.  Tryptophan is found in protein rich food like chicken, pumpkin seeds, turkey, tuna, rolled oats is a particularly good option, because of the combined carbohydrate content.
  • Some people are sensitive to certain foods, continuing to eat these foods can have undesirable consequences for the body, for example it causes inflammation which can appear with the following symptoms:  bloating, mucous production, diarrhea, cramping, leaky gut. 

The million-dollar question: So is chocolate bad for me?

  • It’s a treat!  It is definitely acceptable and possibly even beneficial to enjoy good quality chocolate in moderation.  “Good” options are 1-2 pieces 75-90% Cocoa, and preferably Organic Chocolate.  If you can’t stand dark chocolate, choose a good quality milk chocolate with nuts in it, (hazelnuts or almonds). 
  • Always make sure you are enjoying it while you eat and never eat it mindlessly (while you are doing something else!), it just isn’t worth it!
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Taking Responsibility: 

 What does Responsibility mean to you?  To me, it has always had connotations of obligation, accountability, ownership, and being loaded with a generous pinch of judgment and self-blame or liability. It conjures up images of my childhood with my mother saying:  “You need to take responsibility for your actions, Lisa”.   It was a good thing to learn: to not blame others and to realize how much control we have over our actions and our lives, even if I didn’t want to own that responsibility all the time. 

“You take responsibility for your life and a terrible thing happens… no one to blame!”

It was at a seminar (Success and You) a couple of weekends ago, that I fully grasped the absolute power behind what taking responsibility can mean.   They referred to responsibility as your ‘ability to respond”.  WOW!  That’s a pretty cool way of looking at it!  So by taking responsibility, you are acknowledging your ability to respond.  You are not a passive recipient in the world but an active entity!  Up until then I had always taken responsibility (or tried to) but did it somewhat begrudgingly!  I loved the freedom and power that came with seeing it in this new light: responsibility: your “response ability” or “ability to respond”. 

So how does it apply to real life?

I was chatting to a friend about it and he shared a wonderful story that perfectly illustrated the concept.  He attended a talk, in which Alan Pease (the body language guy) revealed that he had had cancer and was now in remission.  Alan was talking about his experience of cancer and shared with the group his empowering yet somewhat confronting view on it.  He said he believed that he got cancer because he did something wrong.  He was really clear on this and really empowered by this belief explaining that by acknowledging that, he could learn from it and change it.  If he accepted that he had done something wrong, and he could find out what it was, he was embracing that he had control over what happened next and he was giving himself the power to change and heal, in his case, recover fully and prevent relapse (pretty important goals for cancer sufferers).  He was acknowledging that he could do something differently, that he still had an ability to respond.  By taking responsibility for his condition, he regained some control of the situation, the ball was back in his court.  By taking responsibility for your health, your life, your actions, you take back your power, you are free to respond and move forward in any way you choose immediately thereafter.  You are claiming just how much power you have over what happened or what happens next.  By not taking responsibility or holding others responsible, you give your power away, you are effectively saying I have no control over that, which leaves you powerless to change and grow or influence others and circumstances. 

It would appear that taking responsibility takes you to the point for maximum growth.  It is so rich with potential and so powerful!  Here’s to taking back your power!

 

 

 

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Feb
04

Super Brain!

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Do you want to stay focused?  Do you want a sharp mind?  Do you want a good memory?

Check out the easy tips below to look after your brain… (p.s. these tips will also give you more energy!!!)

For those of you that attended the function on Monday:  Good for you!  You now know 5 ways to keep your brain young and focused, thanks for being in the audience!  I would LOVE to hear how you are going implementing the 5 keys.  If you haven’t started yet, I would love to help you to get started!

So I thought I would write a quick reminder for you! 

Number 1:

Remember to breath!

This brought a laugh from a few of you.  It is SO obvious, isn’t it?!  yet most of us only breath using 20-30% of our breathing capacity!  Oxygen is a vital “nutrient” for our bodies, it is an essential ingredient in the process of getting energy out of food, and it is absolutely vital for the health of our brain.  We can survive without food for weeks, water for days but without oxygen for a few minutes we would die!

How to breath properly:

Breath into your stomach, put your 3 fingers above your belly button and breath in so that you can feel your “tummy” expand and your fingers move outwards, breath out slowly and feel your “tummy” move inwards.  Be aware of your breath as you inhale and exhale, but don’t force it.  Breath in and then breath out.  Whenever you are feeling stressed or tense, REMEMBER to stop and breath!  By bringing your attention to your breath, you will immediately feel calmer and you will oxygenate the brain for clarity.

Number 2:  Control your blood sugar!

This is vital for concentration, focus, clarity of mind, attention and sustained energy.  The best ways to do this are:

  • Always eat breakfast
  • Eat small regular meals
  • Combine protein and carbohydrates at meal times
  • Choose whole grain or low GI/GL foods and limit refined carbohydrates and sugary foods
  • Limit stimulants

Number 3:  Fat

Your brain is made up of fat!  It needs fat to function! 

The best fats are:

  • Fish oils such as sardines, salmon, tuna
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Cold pressed oils such as olive oil or flax seed oil
  • Avocado

Avoid: hydrogenated and trans fats and limit saturated animal fats (like cream, butter, cheese, fat on meat)

Number 4: B Vitamins

B vitamins are super essential for the brain, they are necessary for nerve production, stress reduction, memory, sleep, appetite, metabolism and especially with regards to the brain for breaking down homocysteine.

High levels of homocysteine have been strongly associated with alzheimers disease risk.  B vitamins help to break this down into important substances used by the body.

You get B vitamins in green leafy vegetables, grains, meat, chicken.   Just remember they are water soluble so the way you prepare food can affect your intake, e.g. if you overboil your broccoli or leave it to sit in the water after its cooked, the B vitamins will be dissolved in the water and will no longer be concentrated in the broccoli.  Quick cook and strain immediately or steam your veggies for maximum Bs.

If in doubt, take a B complex supplement.

Remember there are many things you can do to keep your brain alert and healthy, there are just 4 ways to get started.

Number 5 and most importantly!

Check out Lisa live giving you Point number 5, the most important tip!

So Get Started today, be vital and love your brain! 

… But only if you want to Remember and Be remembered! I do!

 

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Jan
06

Have a sensational 2009!

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Happy New Year!

I hope you had a GREAT break over Christmas and you are feeling revitalised for the New Year!  I am so excited about 2009!  I have this incredible feeling that it is going to be a super year!

Sensational!  A great way to start the year!

At a friend’s wedding a couple of days ago, while waiting for the brdie to arrive I met the photographer outside the church.  When I asked how he was doing, he replied: “Sensational!”  Well, he certainly got my attention!  He was the one at work and most of the guests didn’t feel that good!  We started chatting and he shared an interesting observation.  The average Australian lives a total of about 29 000 days.  Estimating he only had about 10 000 to go, he wanted to enjoy every one of them!

Imagine if you knew how many days you were allocated.  Would you spend them differently?  How would you like to feel every day?  What would you like to achieve every day? 

Furthermore: What sort of first impression are you giving people about yourself at moment? 

How do you answer the question: “How are you doing today?”

“Not bad!” “Ok” “Could be worse!” “Just fine!” “Can’t complain!” “Any better and I’d be dangerous!”

It certainly gave me something to think about!

Now is the pefect time to make a decision to look after your health and to choose to celebrate life!  Making every moment count!

Here’s wishing you a sensational 2009!

 

Categories : Celebrating Life
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Dec
18

Support your body over Christmas!

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‘Tis the season to be jolly!  Have a GREAT time but remember to support your body! We all like to spoil ourselves over Christmas, it is best not to over do it, but if you do… here are some tips to ease the body burden…

Aside from the obvious, stay out of the sun at the hottest part of the day, protect the food from flies and salmonella poisoning, here are 3 winners!

  1. Drink lots of water!  It is really hot, so you need to replenish the water you loose from sweating.  If you are drinking alcohol, it is especially important to drink more water to prevent dehydration and to help your body eliminate toxins!
  2. Support your liver!  It is your main detox organ, so this time of year it tends to work overtime! Milk thistle is a great herbal supplement that aids and protects the liver.  You can buy it from most health shops and chemists (ask the assistant for advice if you are on any medication or you are pregnant or breastfeeding).
  3. Get some fresh food into you.  Watermelon is great this time of year, it’s refreshing and full of nutrients!

May you have a very merry Christmas and live to tell the tale! ;o)

 

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Categories : Celebrating Life
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Dec
16

Merry Christmas! My gift to you!

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What an exciting fun time of year, the festive season.  Do you remember when you were a kid how much you loved christmas?  This time of year for me is painted with memories of family, friends, good cheer, great food, playing and relaxing.  As an adult though it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of activity that starts to take the magic out of it.  We spend too much, eat too much, rush too much, fuss too much and then it’s all too much!  Then before you know it, it’s over all too soon.

So, before you get too caught up in the silly season, try to remember what christmas is really about for you. 

My gift for you this Christmas is: a couple of festive (and secretly nutritious) recipies.  A delicious and fresh salad recipe, perfect for Christmas on a summers day and some tasty Date balls (both great tasting and without the added guilt and extra pounds that sometimes accompany the overindulgence of christmas!). 

Try this colourful red and green festive salad to accompany your main meal…

Beetroot, Pumpkin and Spinach Salad 

The goodies:

 

200g fetta cheese, crumbled

10 small beetroots (600g)

2 tablespoons olive oil or 2 tsp coconut oil

700g peeled pumpkin (1 small butternut), diced into 4cm pieces

150g baby spinach leaves

¾ cup (75g) toasted walnuts, chopped coarsely

 

Walnut vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons walnut oil

¼ cup (60ml) olive oil

¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice

 

The Fun:

 

Destalk the beetroot and cut them into quarters (unpeeled). 

Place in a large shallow baking dish, drizzle with half of the oil. 

Roast, uncovered, in moderately hot oven (about 180o) for 15 minutes.

Add the pumpkin, drizzle with remaining oil. 

Roast uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until veggies are tender.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

when cool enough to handle, peel the beetroot if desired (the skin will come of easily).

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette.

Place all the dressing into a large salad bowl, and add the beetroot, toss gently to coat the beetroot.

Just before serving, add the remaining ingredients (spinach, pumpkin, nuts and fetta) and toss gently.

Divine Date Balls:

 

The goodies:

 

1 cup (250ml) pitted dates

½ cup (125ml) walnuts

½ cup (125ml) desiccated coconut

4tbsp (60ml) sunflower seeds

A pinch of salt

2tbsp (30ml raw honey)

¼ cup (60ml) sesame seeds toasted, or desiccated coconut (optional)

 

The fun:

 

Place all the ingredients, except honey and sesame seeds in a food processor and pulse until well-chopped but not pulverized.

Add honey and process for 30 seconds.

Take teaspoonfuls of the mixture and roll into balls.

Roll in toasted sesame seeds or desiccated coconut (optional)

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

ENJOY!

Hope you have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas! 

 

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Dec
07

Dance! Dance! Dance!

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I went to the Rio-Rhythmics Christmas party last night!  What a ball ☺!  Everyone was dressed in white as is the Brazilian tradition.  The food was fabulous and the vibe was electric! 

 

There is something so invigorating about Latin Dancing!  I get such a thrill from it I feel like I am high!  Maybe it is the music, maybe it’s the excitement of dancing with someone or the effect of all that blood rushing around your body, whatever it is, IT FEELS GREAT!

 

Did you know?

  • Music improves serotonin levels making you feel happier.
  • Music can help you relax: “Half an hour of music produces the same effect as 10 milligrams of Valium.”  R. Bahr, Director of Coronary Care, St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Dancing is so good for the memory and mind it has a preventative effect on Alzheimers disease!
  • Dancing burns calories, tones your muscles and is a great way of getting fit!

 Some dance places I have tried out!

 

Check out the links below:

Rio Rhythmics: www.riorhythmics.com.au

Jill’s Jive: www.jillsjive.com.au

 

 

               

Categories : Celebrating Life
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