Boost Your Health, Grow Your Food

Boost your health – start with sprouts

One of the easiest ways of boosting your health and ensuring that you get the best quality & freshest fruits & vegetables on tap, is to grow your own. Even if you start small with an indoor ‘sprouts’ garden for alfalfa, mung beans, pea sprouts etc. These are easy to set up and you can pick them fresh in just 3-5 days for use in salads.

Add a herb patch!

After you’ve set up your indoor garden try an outdoor one, beginning with a bunch of different herbs. When planted from seedlings you can pick them after a week or so, once they have achieved some lush growth and they will continue to thrive and thicken. 

Organic fruit and vegetables

Then perhaps a vegetable patch is next. Starting with seedlings always makes it quicker, but make sure the soil is prepared ahead of time with some good mushroom mulch or similar fertile base, mixed in with the soil. Water heavily on hot days for maximum yield. Plant a fruit tree or two and now you’re talking!

Not only do organic fruits and vegetables taste far better, they last in the fridge longer because they have ripened naturally, they are more nutrient-dense than non-organic (you get a better bang for your buck) and the activity will keep you fitter and in touch with nature. Pick a vase of herbs and spread their wonderful aroma through your house today! Enjoy!

How To Lose Belly Fat

No amount of daily sit-ups will help you lose belly fat. Some lifestyle, exercise and dietary adjustments are necessary. Incorporate a few changes at a time so you are not overwhelmed. 

Exercise adjustments:

  1. Include HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) one to two times a week, for about 20 mins a session. Muscle tissue burns 3-5 times more energy than fat tissue. So as you gain muscle your metabolic rate increases, allowing you to burn more calories even while sleeping. Note: workout for short bursts of maximum intensity (eg. 30 sec) and rest in between these spurts for a similar time.
  2. Include weight (resistance) training. Perform your sets using the correct technique and at a slightly slower pace, squeezing & holding the abdominals taut during each set. Rest in between. Core-strengthening exercises like “planking” engages a wide group of muscles to improve overall strength. Push-ups are a great exercise to perform in sets of 20 throughout the day. We all need a break from sitting!

Dietary recommendations:

  1. Incorporate more protein in your diet if it is currently low, especially if you are doing weights regularly. We need good levels of quality protein to build more muscle.  Also protein has a higher Thermic Effect of Food. Protein burns about 5 times more calories than carbohydrates or fats.  So including extra protein and less carbs, means you will expend more energy & burn more body fat.
  2. Choose more organic, raw wholefoods containing fibre. This is better for the bowels and will help you feel fuller for longer.
  3. Cut out or reduce processed refined foods that deplete the body of energy.
  4. Add small serves of good fats throughout the day, eg. avocado, nuts & seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, green leafy veg, fish, fish oils. Avoid trans fats.
  5. Greatly reduce alcohol or avoid altogether.
  6. Add probiotics daily to make your tummy balanced, healthy and happy.
  7. Add a serve of fermented foods daily: eg. yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, lassi. Anything that makes the tummy balanced and happy will help reduce bloat and fluid retention.
  8. Add 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar to a 1/2 glass of water once a day to increase your satiety and restore gut health.

Lifestyle suggestions:

  1. Reduce stress: cortisol is a fat-storing hormone that is produced in higher amounts under stress. Incorporate some daily relaxation or meditation (10-15 mins) to improve your sleep and recover your energy.
  2. Get some sunlight exposure each day and feel more grounded. This helps us sleep better at night. Take a walk outside during your lunch break.
  3. At night after dinner, dim the lights and reduce your exposure to blue lights and electronic devices an hour or so before bed. Both of these disrupt your natural melatonin production. This is the hormone that helps us wind down and sleep at night. If you’re wired, you’ll get tired! 

5 Lifestyle Changes that Could Prevent 80% of Heart Attacks

Adopt these 5 “low-risk” behaviours to help reduce your chances of heart attack:

  1. A healthy diet – eat freshly prepared wholefoods; avoid refined, processed choices.
  2. Being physically active – choose to exercise each day for at least 30 mins. Include a range of activities from weight training, to interval training (HIIT), to yoga/pilates and walking. Find something you enjoy!
  3. Healthy waist circumference – less than 92cm for men and 80cm for women.
  4. Low to moderate alcohol consumption.
  5. No smoking.

What Happens in Your Body When You Exercise?

A large number of biological changes occur from head to toe, when you exercise. These changes occur in your:

  1. Muscles – which use glucose & ATP (a chemical compound that is in all living tissue), for contraction and movement. By increasing your breathing rate, more oxygen is introduced and your heart starts pumping more blood to your muscles. Lifting weights causes tiny tears in your muscles, which grow bigger and stronger as they heal.
  2. Lungs – as your muscles call for more oxygen, your breathing rate continues to increase, until you reach your VO2 max, your maximum capacity for oxygen use. The higher your VO2 max, the fitter you are.
  3. Heart – the fitter you are, the more efficiently your heart can supply more oxygenated blood to your muscles when you exercise. This allows you to workout longer and harder. Your blood pressure will also decrease as a result of new blood vessels forming.
  4. Brain – increased blood flow benefits your brain, allowing it to function better immediately. You feel more focused after a workout. Regular exercise promotes the growth of new brain cells. In the hippocampus (our memory centre in the brain), these new brain cells help boost memory and learning. Exercise also triggers the release of a number of neurotransmitters in our brain, which are important for mood control.
  5. Joints & bones – weight-bearing exercise is one of the most effective remedies against osteoporosis, as it helps build and strengthen bone density. 

Don’t forget your daily serve of exercise!

Will I Get Big & Bulky Lifting Weights?

Many women are reluctant to start lifting weights, because they have visions of turning into female bodybuilders, with veins running through their biceps and chest. Keep in mind that these women are weight lifters to the extreme and their bodies are out of balance. This kind of build is not the typical result of weight lifting, because 99% of women do not have enough testosterone to gain muscle like men.

Having more muscle is a great advantage for many reasons:

  1. Muscle is more dense than fat, so it takes up less space – if you lose body fat and gain more muscle, you will reduce your overall size. You will gain a smaller waist and more toned muscles.
  2. Having more muscle than fat means that you become a better fat-burner, rather than a fat-storer – your muscle mass acts like a furnace, the more you have the better your metabolism  fires up to burn fat.
  3. Lifting weights aids in abdominal fat loss – high levels of abdominal fat (or VAT) increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver and many other chronic inflammatory diseases.
  4. Weight training helps prevent osteoporosis – bones become brittle and less dense with age and inactivity.  Lifting weights puts more tension on your muscles which puts more pressure on your bones. Regular training adds more constant pressure to your bones, resulting in building bone density. We can become stronger rather than weaker.
  5. Resistance training allows you to sculpt your body in a healthy manner – you will have the ability to reshape your shoulders, arms, back, legs & chest, to strengthen your body and overall posture. Prevent ageing by remaining toned, strong and more upright! 



Slow Metabolism? Fire it Up with These 4 Tips …

4 Tips to Fire Up your Metabolism:

  1. Do interval training – periodic fast-paced intervals raise your metabolic rate higher than a steady cardio workout can. 
  2. Drink green tea – this really does impact on your metabolic rate. Some green teas are quite bitter in taste, so find one you like and drink 3 cups a day!
  3.  Build more muscle – lean muscle mass acts like a furnace and helps burn body fat effectively. The more muscle you have, the better the fat burner you are.
  4. Pick up heavier weights – we are never to old to challenge our bodies with weight training. Progress to lifting heavy weights at a slow rate. This causes minor tears in the muscle, which repair and grow if provided with the right amount of protein and recovery time. Your metabolism gets a boost while the muscles repair.