For more information on Charity and Meditating Together check out her daily meditation affirmations, inspirations and education posts on:
Enliven Your Lightest, Brightest You
Jennifer Hanway is a Holistic Nutritionist, Bio Signature Modulation Practitioner and Certified Personal Trainer, originally from London but now living in Newton Centre and working in Back Bay, Boston.
I love the holiday period, and all the food, fun, and connection it brings - but the constant late nights, alcohol and eating off track can make me feel less than my usual lightest brightest self. I’m heading out to London for a week to celebrate with my friends and family there, so my social commitments feel like double this year (I’m not complaining)!
Below are the wellness strategies I’ll be using so I can show up for the holidays as my best, energized, vital and glowing self…
1) Stay consistent! Now is the time to really make sure you are sticking to the PRIME principles - eating your servings of 7-9 veggies a day, working out and staying hydrated. In the word for my very smart husband ‘control the controllables’, be this what you can eat for breakfast, getting your workout in, or how you manage your stress levels.
2) A holiday party has a set time frame - don’t let it creep out into the entire day! If anything double down on your healthy habits the day of the party so you show up feeling energized and able to get the most out of the occasion.
3) The day of the party have a protein, fat and fibre based breakfast (I’m on smoothie lockdown at this time of year), aim to get a workout in to increase insulin sensitivity and get you glowing, and get super hydrated too.
4) I always eat a mini meal before I leave to keep my blood sugar and energy levels stable, and so I am empowered (not hungry) to make smart drink and food choices. A mini smoothie, apple and nut butter or hummus and veggies are great options.
5) If my outfit of choice feels a little too snug around the middle I take a charcoal supplement to help rid me of any gas or bloating - my faves are these super affordable capsules from Bulletproof (they are also my go-to if I feel I might have accidentally been ‘glutened’):
6) Choose your drinks wisely: low sugar options include prosecco, champagne and organic red wine (which can also contains health boosting antioxidants), and if harder options are your thing then clear spirits such as vodka and gin have less toxins and are less likely to cause a hangover. Pair with seltzer water rather than sugary sodas or chemically laden diet drinks.
7) To avoid dehydration, too many empty calories, and feeling terrible the next day always order a glass of water with your alcoholic drink. The added benefit is that if you have your alcoholic drink in one hand and your water in the other it's impossible to reach for the high calorie, low nutrient canapés that might be on offer.
8) The next day start with a large glass of alkalizing, digestion boosting, adrenal supporting warm water, Himalayan salt and lime juice. Leave the coffee until later in the day to give your liver time to process the alcohol and toxins from before. Workout, eat light, and dry and jump in an infrared sauna if you can - leaving you light and bright and party ready again!
Do you have any top tips for surviving holiday parties? Share the love and share them below…
This post is written in partnership with New Chapter, however all opinions are my own. I only work with and recommend companies whose products I love, and I’m so excited to share these with you!
I love this time of year and everything it brings - the beautiful foliage, my birthday, holidays spent with friends and family, and I usually take a trip back home to London in the Fall too. What I don’t want to do is waste any time ill in bed with a cold or even the flu, so ensuring a robust immune system and optimal gut health is super important to me as the seasons change and temperatures drop.
Approximately 80% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract, which has an extremely important two-part system that is our body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens. The first is a mucosal layer that is home to the population of bacteria and yeasts that we collectively term our microbiome, and the second is the one cell thick epithelial lining that is the gateway to our bloodstream.
Our microbiome is responsible for preventing pathogens from entering our bloodstream (the germs that cause colds and flu at this time of year), absorbing nutrients from our food and our supplements (remember ‘you are not what you eat, but what you absorb’), and even in part for our hunger and food cravings. Ensuring that it is balanced, healthy and well functioning is one of the best ways we can ensure we stay well at this time of year and enjoy everything the seasons have to offer.
Most of us know by now that taking a great quality probiotic is essential to great gut health, but I’m often asked what to look for in a probiotic. New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora is my year round probiotic supplement, and the one I recommend to all of my private coaching clients and as part of my 28 Day Guided Gut Healing Program.
Choosing a Great Probiotic
As I mentioned above, our microbiome is made up of a host of bacteria and yeasts, all working together as part of your immune system, so it is important that your probiotic doesn't just contain bacteria alone. In my practice I’ve learnt that rebalancing your microbiome is just as important as replenishing the good bacteria, but it is a step that is often neglected. When your microbiome is unbalanced it can cause GI distress, gas, bloating, constipation and even food intolerances, and can negatively affect our immune system.
New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora contains both DNA tested strains of beneficial bacteria (Lactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium breve) to keep your good gut flora healthy and flourishing, and Saccharomyces boulardii, a beneficial yeast that reduces problematic yeast overgrowth throughout our digestive tracts.*
Once our gut flora is rebalanced and replenished we want to ensure we keep it that way, and I love that New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora also contains prebiotics to fuel our microbiome, and postbiotics to boost probiotic activity and benefit overall gut health.* It also contains a blend of fermented organic herbs designed to boost and support digestive function, including aloe, peppermint, coriander, cardamom and artichoke.*
It’s so simple to implement into your daily health and wellness routine, as you only have to take one a day and it does not have to be refrigerated, so is perfect for holiday travel. You can find New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora on their website, at Whole Foods and CVS, and you can even have it delivered to your door by Amazon.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
One of the biggest challenges my clients have is meal prepping, from what to prep, to how much to make to how to store it.
In my opinion meal prep is one of the most important things you can do to help you stick to a healthy diet, especially if you have a busy schedule and are following any kind of special diet (vegan, gluten free, paleo, low carb, etc). It will also save you a ton of money, help you eat locally and seasonally and keep a connection to the food you eat on a daily basis.
It is also a life saver for Husband Hanway and I, as at least 95% (maybe more) of the food we eat is made at home, we both have busy schedules, and he doesn't have a lot of time to cook during the week (and he eats a lot)!
I suggest setting aside about 90 minutes on a Sunday to meal prep for the week (if you work a Monday to Friday), or find a day and time that works for you. Make a list of what you are going to prep and the order that it needs to be cooked in, and have your storage containers ready. Ensure you have cleared space in the fridge, freezer or pantry for storage. Finally, put on your favorite music or a good podcast, and instead of thinking of it as a chore, reframe your thinking to know you are taking time out to nourish yourself and fuel yourself for the week ahead.
Getting Prepped for Meal Prep
You don't have to have a lot of fancy kitchen equipment to meal prep for the week, but I do recommend getting a few good basic items to make the process easier. My essentials include:
What to Prep
This is going to be different for everyone depending on your diet, how much you eat and what you like to eat, but here are some options or ideas. I start with the items that need to go in the oven, then prep the rest as they are cooking to save time. Remember you don't have to prep all of the options below, and we certainly don't do all of these every week!
Roast in Oven
I usually roast chicken breasts or chicken thighs in the oven, and keep it simple by using coconut oil and salt and pepper. This is delicious on its own, but also means I can add different flavorings during the week to mix it up. Cook, cool, then place in a glass storage dish in the refrigerator.
We also roast a big batch of winter veggies in coconut oil - its very easy to do, and they keep well in the refrigerator. Its also a great way to eat seasonally, and in the winter I'd rather eat some beautiful, nutritious root veggies than a salad! What I cook changes each week with whats good from local farms, but at the moment includes carrots (of all colors), squashes, celeriac and kohlrabi. I peel and cube these, coat them in coconut oil, and roast with salt and pepper, and a couple of garlic cloves. Cook, cool, then place in a glass storage dish in the refrigerator. If I have extra I can use these to blend into a soup too.
I'll also cook up one egg based breakfast dish such as a frittata or egg muffins as they can easily be made into individual portions and kept in the refrigerator or freezer (see Turkey Bacon Egg Muffins)
Cook on the Hob
Here I will cook some kind of patties or pancake that I know will be good cold and last well in the refrigerator. Options include Turkey Meatballs, Cashew and Rosemary Patties, or TigerNut and Oat Savory Pancakes.
I will also cook at least one gluten free grain, such as quinoa, buckwheat or brown rice, in some Bare Bones Broth or veggie stock for added flavor.
You can also make a vegan curry or stew on the hob for my plant based eaters, and for this who are trying to get more veggies in your diet (i.e. everyone)! My Chickpea and Quinoa Curry is perfect for this.
Throwing a chili in the slow cooker and letting it cook overnight is so easy, and a great option in the winter. Try my Hearty Cacao Chili for a super nutritious option.
I also use my slow cooker for cooking sweet potatoes - just wash and pierce the skin, and set on high for 4-6 hours depending on how big the potatoes are. I use these either in meals for the week, or freeze and use in my Gut Friendly Sweet Potato Smoothie.
No Cook Breakfast Options
Depending on my schedule for the week I may grab my mason jars and ziplock bags for some no cook breakfasts and snacks - I'll prepare some simple Overnight Oats or Chia Puddings in my mason jars and put in the fridge, and if its a super busy week then I'll portion out all the ingredients for my morning Superfood Smoothies and put into individual ziplock bags and but in the freezer. This is amazing for when I have to eat breakfast at 5.30am in the morning to get to my early clients, and don't have time (or the brain power at that time of the morning) to measure out all of my Maca, Collagen, Spirulina! I also now swear by my Organic Living Superfoods Designer Smoothie Blends as all of the hard work is done for you!
The one other prep I do at the weekends is to organize my supplements for the week, as even I need some help to remember to take them every day. I'll put the supplements I take each day in a small container, and then put them in the fridge next to my almond milk (essential for my morning coffee) so I cant fail to see them!
By following these guidelines it should enable you to have great grab and go options throughout the week. All of the dishes mentioned here last about 5 days in the refrigerator, and you can either portion out all of the meals ready to go for the week, or (what I do) is make a list on the front of the fridge of what we have in there, then mix and match all of the dishes to keep variety during the week.
All of my online plans include what to prep and how to prep for the coming week, grocery lists and recipes. My 28 Day Lean and Clean Plan is perfect if you are looking to clean up your diet and re-energize your training and nutrition regime (or are looking to start one)!
I'd love to hear your healthy meal prep hacks! What are your go-to dishes that you prep for the week?
Our Instagram and Facebook feeds are full of exotic looking superfood smoothies and acai/moringa/matcha/unicorn horn bowls, that promise glowing skin and endless energy, but what about the humble kitchen staples we all have in our refrigerator and panty?
There are many 'everyday' foods we already have at home that can deliver the same results as these 'superfoods', but that are easily accessible and a fraction of the price! Here are my top five everyday 'Glow For It' foods:
My favorite fruit, and I'm living proof that an apple a day does keep the doctor away! Apples are a antioxidant powerhouse (they have the second highest levels of antioxidant activity of commonly consumed fruit in the US), containing host of phytochemicals such as quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid.
How does this translate to beauty benefits? Quercetin acts an anti flammatory for the skin, reducing free radical and UVB damage, and it also has anti aging properties. Apples are also a great source of pectin, a soluble fiber found in the cell walls of plants. This type of fiber is super gut friendly (remember great gut health is one of the keys to great skin), has been shown to help balance gut bacteria, helps to keep you satiated, and has a detoxifying effect.
The key to getting the most of benefits from an apple - eat the skin as this is where the majority of the nutrients are housed. I love to munch on apples as a snack, and they are a staple of my green smoothies (including the skin) on a daily basis.
Where do I start with the beauty benefits of avocado? Full of wonderful monosaturated fatty acids (the good fat), avocados are a great source of oleic acid, an omega 9 fat that can help with lowering inflammation within the body. They contain lutein, an antioxidant that is important for both skin and eye health. Avocados are rich in fiber, Vitamin E which keeps skin cells strong and hydrated and B Vitamins that are essential for energy production, and that assist in lowering redness and inflammation in the skin.
Avocados are also a budget friendly beauty food as they are one of the 'Clean 15' - meaning you can buy conventionally grown avocados (as opposed to organically grown) as their thick skins are a great barrier to pesticides.
Something you may not know about avocados - you can actually eat the pit! The pit (or seed) is where you will find 70% of the avocados's antioxidants, and avocado pit oil can increase collagen formation, keeping skin young, firm and wrinkle free! A word of warning though - you need a heavy duty blender to handle these!
I eat avocados with my breakfast, throw in my smoothies, even use them as a face mask! I also love them as a dessert food - check out my Avocado and Cacao Mousse recipe here!
Oats contain a double whammy of fiber - soluble and insoluble, both of which are fundamental to great gut health and digestion (a healthy gut is the foundation of beautiful skin). Although they are a carbohydrate they are have a very low glycemic load due to their high amounts of fibre and protein content, making them a great option for sustained energy throughout the day.
Their beauty benefits? They are rich in minerals, including manganese, which is important for healthy hair and vibrant hair color, iron, for strengthening hair and nails, and selenium which is essential for skin elasticity.
Oats are absolutely one of my staple foods, from traditional oatmeal, baking with oat flour, overnight oats and as a component of my go to beauty snack: Glow Bites!
Just like avocado, oats are also wonderful for your external beauty, and one of my favorite green beauty products to contain oat flour is from SW Basics:
Olive oil has fallen out of fashion recently to its hip cousins coconut oil, ghee and grass fed butter. Whilst those are all wonderful options, olive oil still has a myriad of beauty benefits that we can enjoy on a daily basis.
Due to its high content of Omegas 3's, olive oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent, which can help in reducing puffiness and redness in the skin, as well as improving body composition (the body's muscle mass to fat ratio). Its high in anti oxidants (including phenols) and Vitamin E which can protect the skin from harmful UVA rays and helps to strengthen skin membranes.
Olive oil is great for using in salad dressings and for drizzling on veggies - a little fat helps the body to absorb all the amazing vitamins and minerals from your nine (!) a day.
Not all olive oils are equal however, choose wisely and always pick an organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil for beauty betterment! Most importantly, save olive oil for post cooking only as heating it can alter its structure and can change it from an anti inflammatory to a pro inflammatory food source.
My number one when it comes to carbohydrates for beauty. The beautiful orange color is an indication of the high amounts of beta-carotene present, that converts to Vitamin A within the body. Also containing Vitamins B and C, these 3 vitamins keep skin smooth, ensure cell turnover, and regenerate collagen. They are also a low GL carbohydrate due to the huge amount of fiber they contain, ensuring an energy boost but not a blood sugar spike. Yams however are different from sweet potatoes, and are nutritionally inferior, so choose carefully!
Some of my clients complain that sweet potatoes take forever to cook, but a great tip is that you can throw them in the slow cooker! Just wash and piece the skins, and throw in your crockpot on low for about 4 hours. You will then have perfectly cooked sweet potatoes that you can eat whilst warm, save for cold, or even freeze for another time.
If I'm in a rush post workout I love to throw cubes of frozen sweet potato into a vanilla protein smoothie for a beauty boosting blast that tastes like a milkshake!
And there is one extra booster that I have to mention: Water!
Water is such a simple component of beautiful skin that sometimes it gets forgotten about in these types of lists! Up to 60% of the human body is water, and, unlike the other foods in the list here we can feel and see the results of not drinking enough water in a matter of hours.
Consider a water goal of 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight, and even more if you train hard or to tend to be a ‘sweater’!
The new year comes with a lot of resolutions for all of us, and if those resolutions include improving your health and wellbeing then read on!
It has been proven many times that we are more likely to stick to our healthy habits if they are made easily accessible to us, and what could be more accessible than our smart phones, tablets and laptops that we cant seem to live without these days!
You can use all of these apps without having to purchase an expensive gadget such as a Fitbit or Jawbone (I don't own any of these).
I love anything that makes wellbeing easier, and as someone that couldn't live without her iPhone I wanted to share with you my top five apps that I use to help with my nutrition, fitness and wellbeing.
Available as an App and via their website, My Fitness Pal is my go-to for food tracking for both myself and my clients. It is so easy to use, and has a huge database of foods ranging from grocery store goods to restaurant dishes. Even better, you can scan barcodes on food packaging for easy uploading.
You can also allow your friends to see your food diaries, and this can help accountability, and also makes it very easy for your nutrition coach to keep track of your food intake too (I see you...)
As with all food tracking apps I do not agree with their 'one size fits all' approach to calculating calorie allowances, so I suggest setting your own custom macros in accordance with your goals.
My Fitness Pal is free.
One of the originals and in my opinion the best of all workout apps available, you cant beat the behemoth that is Nike for a huge variety of beautifully shot and easy to follow workouts.
You can set the workout to music from your iTunes library, reiview all the exercises before you start the workout (I love this feature), and view the workout on your television if you have Apple TV. Workouts range from 15 minutes to 45 minutes so even those strapped for time have no excuses!
Nike+ Training Club is free.
3) Yoga Studio
Yoga Studio by Gaiam is my favorite of all the yoga apps available as it is so easy to use, clearly shot, and easily accessible to beginners. It has options for viewing ready made classes, from which you can select based on focus, ability or duration, or you can create your own class depending on what you want to achieve from your practice. From what I have seen so far all you need is a mat and some space, and you are ready to go. I love the Yoga for Back Pain classes, and the Deep Relaxation ; )
Yoga Studio is $3.99.
Such a simple concept, but I've really found these two apps life changing. Both apps make the color of your computer or smartphone displays adapt to the time of day showing as warm at night (less blue light) and like sunlight during the day. Bringing down the amount of artificial light you are exposed to after dark can lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and normalize our circadian rhythms, helping us sleep better at night.
I use f.lux for my laptop, and Sunn for my iPhone, as Apple do not allow f.lux unless you jailbreak the phone.
f.lux is free and Sunn is $3.99.
Headspace is a relatively new app for me but I love it already. Think of it as 'meditation for non-meditators'. You are guided through a series of 'brain training sessions' by the creator Andy Puddicombe (a meditation and mindfulness expert and a fellow brit - this app is worth downloading for his soothing British accent alone), in which you are asked to focus on your breath, physical sensations and noise around you, making for practice that can be adopted by anyone.
Your are also able to track your progress, find friends who are also using Headspace, and pick practices from collections to suit your mood and lifestyle.
Headspace is free for the first 10 sessions, then moves to a paid subscription starting at $7.99 if you sign up for a year.
I'd love to hear about the apps you use to enhance your nutrition, training and wellbeing! Please share your suggestions below so we can all reap the benefits!
Are you (like me) hitting the road today (or tomorrow) to visit family and friends for the holidays? I'm a big fan of road trips, but they can often derail our healthy habits. Here are some quick and easy ways to have a healthy road trip, to ensure you feel full of energy and ready to party when you arrive at your destination! Move It or Lose It
I'm really bad at sitting still for any amount of time (read longer than 5 minutes), so long car journeys are definitely a challenge for me. Before we hit the road I aim to get up just a little earlier so I can do a short at home yoga practice. I love the free content from Yoga Journal, and can complete my practice is around 30-45 minutes which is perfect. Taking a walk, going for a swim, having a dance party in your kitchen to Mariah (just me?), anything that gets the body moving and the blood pumping is a great antidote to sitting still for hours on end, and will stop you feeling stiff and achy on the journey.
The Most Important Meal of the Day
You've guessed it - protein, fats and veggies before you go (see my 7 Days of Breakfast post for suggestions)! Having a good breakfast is going to set you up for the day, stop you from having to eat breakfast at a gas station (no one deserves that), and keep you mentally focussed
On the subject of gas station food, don't do it! Husband Hanway and I always take snacks on our road trips, and it makes for a much more pleasant journey! Protein shakes, jerky, nuts, fruit (see Healthy Holiday Travel for more ideas) are always on our list, and if its a longer journey consider packing a cooler with some homemade meals too.
Coffee is Life
And then there is gas station coffee. Bitter, tasteless, and served in chemical polystyrene cups. Don't do it. Brew your own at home and take in a thermos. Delicious, better for you and will save you money too.
Water Water Everywhere
Be sure to stay hydrated during the journey, there is nothing worse than arriving tired and cranky at a holiday party, and dehydration can be a big cause of this. Ensure you drink plenty of water during your journey, and your skin will thank you too.
I'm a huge fan of podcasts and long car journeys can be a great time to catch up on my 'must listen' list. Audible is a great option too, so make sure you have downloaded some great content before you leave. Because there is only so many times you can play 'The Preacher's Cat', right?
Disconnect and Connect
Being able to access emails, the internet and social media 24/7 wherever we go is both a blessing and a curse, and I've been guilty myself on being 30 minutes into a road trip and connecting more with Instagram than my husband. Car journeys are a great opportunity to connect with your other passengers and shoot the breeze, just keep it light and fun and in the holiday spirit.
Champagne and Chicken Wings
Because even for me the holidays are about fun and celebration. Husband Hanway and I usually spend Christmas in the company of our family which we love, but last year we instituted a new tradition of going to our favorite bar and ordering champagne and chicken wings (a combo you HAVE to try) before we descend on the family. This is wonderful in many ways (umm, hello champagne and chicken wings) as for us it signals the start of the holidays and give us time to connect with each other before the craziness begins!
Whatever your plans for the holidays I hope they are happy, healthy, and above all, fun! Stay tuned in January for a heap of new recipes, meal plan ideas, workouts, product reviews and amazing giveaways! to make 2016 your best year yet!
Happy Sunday Everyone, and welcome to My Top Five...Last Minute Holiday Gifts for the Wellness Warrior! The Weekend Wellness Round Up has now become 'My Top Five ...' as this gives me more scope to bring my tried and tested recommendations to you in an easy to use format!
This week's top 5 is for those of you (including me) who still need to find the perfect holiday gift for the Wellness Warrior in your life. All the companies below either guarantee delivery by 12/24 (if you order by 12/21) or are gifts and services that you can deliver online.
Two of my favorite fitness apparel suppliers are both offering delivery by 12/24 if you order by 12/21 (Monday):
Athleta: a great 'go-to' for fitness wear as their cut is super flattering, and they have styles to suit all tastes. Play it safe with a section of accessories such as their beautifully designed yoga mats and yoga towels, or their cosy hats, scarves, gloves and leg warmers, or have fun with their huge selection of pants with playful prints.
Bandier: my favorite fitness fashion wear site - I have to hide my credit card every time I visit! Stocking well known cult favorites such as Spiritual Gangster and Phat Buddha, along with some lesser but even more hip designers such as Lucas Hugh and HPE (shout out to the London brands). Order today for two day shipping (in gorgeous packing).
2) Green Beauty
True Moringa: a new favorite of mine, not only are their products wonderfully effective (I love the lavender facial oil ), they are produced ethically, give back to the community in which the Moringa oil is farmed, and are based locally in MA. Even better, use the code 'JENNIFER15' at checkout to receive a 15% discount.
Beauty Heroes: I've dropped many hints to Husband Hanway about Beauty Heroes Subscription Boxes! Filled with wonderful, non toxic beauty products from industry favorites such as Josh Rosebrook and Vintner's Daughter this subscription is guaranteed to please even the most particular of Wellness Warriors (i.e. me, hint hint, Husband Hanway)....
3) Magazine Subscription
Magazine subscriptions are a great last minute gifts, and Magazines.com has all my favorite health and fitness fitness such as Health, Shape, Oprah, Self, Gluten Free Living and Mens Fitness and Mens Health.
At the moment Magazines.com is having 'Red Tag Sale', meaning most of the magazines in the Health category have up to 80% off the retail store price!
Don't discount Amazon when shopping for the fitness fanatic or healthy foodie in your life, they have so many products to help enhance health and wellbeing. How about a Crock Pot for those who want to eat healthier but are pushed for time, or my favorite Wake Up Alarm Light - the best way to start your day! For more information on the benefits of an alarm clock such as this read here.
5) Online Programs and Services
There are some amazing nutrition, fitness and wellbeing resources available at the touch of a button today, from online workouts, to guided nutrition programs, to online video chatting with experts in your field of interest.
Barre enthusiasts? My alma mater barrecore offers a monthly subscription to all their online workouts for just $37 a month. Yoga Lover? Gaia.com has wonderful online classes for all levels and styles of yoga.
For those looking to improve their health and wellbeing through nutrition and lifestyle I offer two services that can be accessed online:
My Thrive program is a monthly services in which you (or your loved one) will receive the following each month:
Following the initial consultation you will receive:
To purchase as a gift (or for yourself) please email email@example.com or click here.
For someone with a specific question or challenge, Pop Expert sessions enable me to chat one to one with clients via video chat at a time that suits them best. Gift Cards are available for these sessions. Presently I am offer Pop Expert sessions at a 50% discount as I love the service so much!
This week's 'Stop, Drop and Meditate comes with a personal message. I'm finding that due to the 24 hour access to the internet, books, podcasts and other resources, I actually make less time to focus on a task. I can do it at any time, and so it tends to melt into the ether of my day with no structure and focus. For example, I can meditate at any time. Anywhere (well, within reason, I'm not sure my clients would be happy if I closed my eyes to focus on my breath whist spotting their back squat or in the middle of a nutrition consultation), in any manner I choose.
Except I struggle with this open ended time. It gives me too much choice, and too much time to make other things a priority (read: excuses). I see huge value in scheduled workouts, workshops, online tutorials and the such, as it makes the practice concrete. You can clear your schedule, put it in your diary. Make it a priority and give it the time and attention it deserves.
Which is why every Friday at 3.30pm I'm encouraging you to meditate along with Charity and I. If you can't make it 3.30pm, decide to check the blog at 6.30pm. Or 9.30pm. Or Saturday morning (you get the point). Just schedule it in your diary as you would a work meeting or group exercise class. Then just show up.
For more information on Charity and Meditating Together check out her daily meditation affirmations, inspirations and education posts on:
This week's Weekend Wellness Round up comes to you courtesy of all the amazing fall/autumn vegetables in season right now. This time of year is my absolute favorite for produce as the colorful, hearty and delicious seasonal stock always encourages me to up my veggie quota. I'm implementing more and more ayurvedic practices into my daily life, and eating seasonal produce is one that I am loving.
Something that has made a huge change in the variety and amount of vegetables we eat here at Hanway Towers is getting a weekly delivery from the amazing Boston Organics. I love the quality and selection they provide, with every box we discover some new foods that we have never tried! You can use my coupon code: 10906bogbj to receive a 10% discount at checkout.
I usually roast or steam my veggies for ease, so I've been trying to find more interesting ways of getting their goodness in. Below are some fantastic recipes from my 'go-to' web resources that will help you see this seasonal produce in a whole new light!
Because Kale chips are so 2015...
Because I love soup in the winter, and eating more soft, warming foods at this time of year is great for my digestive system according to ayurveda...
Because sweet potatoes are one of my winter favorites, and so nutrient dense (and there aren't enough great curry recipes in the US)...
Because cabbage is full of phytonutrients and anti-estrogenomic compounds (and its so pretty)...
Because, umm, brownies (I made these for the BFX Holiday party and they went down a storm)...
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do, and I would love your feedback if you try them!
Both Charity and I were privileged to be in the presence of Deepak Chopra last Sunday as he presented a talk based on his new book, Super Genes ( a full book review will be on the blog in the next couple of weeks).It was two hours of wonderful insights into genetics and epigenetics, and I learnt so much about all components of wellness, not just training, nutrition and healthy lifestyle, but how community, environment and finances can effect your genes and your health.
I have a rudimentary understanding of how meditation can improve wellness, but listening to Deepak speak in detail about the health benefits of meditation, specifically in relation to lengthening your lifespan made me even more determined to incorporate meditation into my daily wellbeing routine.
Every day stress and high cortisol levels can negatively effect the health of our chromosomes. Telomeres (watch out for that buzz word in ten years time) are the very end of our chromosomes, and the more stress we encounter, the more wear and tear on our chromosomes.
Telomeres have been compared with the plastic tips on shoelaces, because they keep chromosome ends from fraying and sticking to each other,
Every time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. When they get too short, the cell can no longer divide; it becomes inactive or "senescent" or it dies. This shortening process is associated with aging, cancer, and a higher risk of death.
However, there is something we can do to help halt and repair this process. An enzyme called telomerase maintains and heals the telomeres, which prolongs the life of our cells. An increase in telomerase slows down the unraveling of telomeres.
This is where meditation comes in. A study completed in 2010 showed people in an intensive meditation practice had greater telomerase activity than those who did not meditate. The Chopra Foundation, along with some of the top medical schools in the country are currently studying how mindful awareness can help increase both out health and out longevity.
I'd love to help you remove the barriers to mediation (no time, have to be in a special place, cant stop thinking, I'm bad at meditating), and encourage you to take part in a short, easy, convenient meditation practice you can do pretty much anywhere.
Here is a video originally shared on Charity's You Tube channel (details below), to help guide you through an easily accessible breath focused meditation:
For more information on Charity and Meditating Together check out her daily meditation affirmations, inspirations and education posts on: