Amp up your vitality

Amp up your vitality Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle and Kate Grainger.jpg

One of my friends recently posed a question – besides grabbing some greens at salad bar, I don’t really eat as healthy as I should and cooking balanced meals seems like a lot of work. Any ideas?

 I know for me – since I’m not doing a lot of meal preparation as much of the time I only have to fend for myself it would be easy to fall into the trap of snacking on low nutrition or sugary foods constantly. But I’ve found a few ways to help avoid that without feeling like I’m spending hours in the kitchen. Apart from gabbing a piece of fruit instead of a biscuit (and believe me sometimes I stare at each in contemplation before deciding on the worse choice) here are some tips to help swing your diet to the nourishing end of the scale. We all want that trim body and alert mind – well this may help:

“Eat the Rainbow”

 I’m sure you’ve all heard of that saying before – basic macronutrients are relatively easy to get in wholesome formats—fish and eggs provide protein; avocado and nut butters provide fat; and sweet potatoes and brown rice provide carbs. But healthy bodies need a vast array of minerals and vitamins that act as co-factors in the complex panoply of biochemical pathways that comprise tissue building and repair. And that’s why veggies are so important.

Fresh vegetables are high in key micronutrients that get processed out of packaged foods. Most vegetables are goldmines of fibre, minerals, and vitamins. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Veggies are also packed with natural pigments: red is lycopene; orange and yellow are bioflavonoids; green is chlorophyll; and blue is anthocyanidins.

This rainbow display of naturally occurring pigments is important for plant health. Plants are constantly exposed to the elements, and over the eons, they developed pigmentation that not only allows them to become more complex (and thus more adaptable to their environments), but also protects them from radiation from the sun’s rays. And when humans eat those plant colours, we gain

some of their protective prowess against radiation and other agents of cellular damage. This is the single most important reason to make the eff ort to eat 1–2 cups of vegetables at least twice daily.

Plan Ahead

 I spend a few hours and cook up a few meals or prepare cold/salad meals – usually to last me a week of snacks, lunch (even dinner). One large meal will give me four portions. It stops me from overeating, ensures my ingredients are fresh (and organic), I get to include all the desired food groups to satisfy a balanced meal. And best of all, it’s ready at a moment’s notice during the week ahead, and I don’t have to bother with instant noodles or something like that when I’m low on energy and couldn’t be bothered cooking.

 

Also I prep raw food and seal them in baggies to freeze, later I can steam them with a protein of my choice If I am in the mood to create a meal (almost) from scratch. It’s all about reducing the time I spend in my kitchen for when I’m feeling lazy and likely to grab something less nutritious.

Amp up your vitality Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle and Kate Grainger

Soups & Smoothies

Another terrific way to prepare veggies (or use them up before they’re past their prime) is to make soups and smoothies. If you don’t own a slow cooker, get one. They’re wonderful for cooking vegetables and spices together for a long time over low heat. This gentle heating opens the plants’ cell walls and allows their myriad healthy elements to meld together. And there’s nothing better than coming home to the aroma of a stew or thick soup that has been slowly cooking all day.

I quickly wash and chop up a variety of veggies, throw them in to the slow cooker with either chicken or another meat of choice, season and leave it to cook while I’m at work. When I get home, dinner is served! There are also enough portions left over to freeze meal sized servings to last a week.

Needless to say my freezer is well stocked with a plethora of healthy meal choices!

I’m not one to make smoothies, but my friend loves them – her favourite tool for making smoothies is a Vitamix blender, but most other blenders will also do the job. Her favourite smoothie is base roughly two parts  water, 1 part yogurt, and either lemon juice and salt for a savoury shake, or cinnamon and honey for a sweet one. The sweet blend can also feature fruit – try bananas, blueberries, or mango chunks – but cooked yam and a little maple syrup are also nice for a change. A savoury blend can feature spinach, kale, cabbage, sprouts, garlic, tomato, cilantro, radishes, and/or any leftover cooked veggies. She says a nice thick smoothie makes a good meal replacement for calorie conscious days, and can also serve as a wonderful snack or appetizer.

Top of the Morning

And who says you can’t have veggies for breakfast? Consider keeping a glass container of finely chopped onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, celery, and maybe grated carrot of jicama in your fridge to easily toss into an omelette or tortilla – or even over a bowl of warm whole grains.

If you plan on having whole grains for breakfast (e.g. oats, buckwheat millet, etc) soak them overnight using 4 parts water to 1 part grain. This makes them easier to cook- and digest. This ‘soupy’ porridge (known as cnongee in Ayurvedic medicine) is a perfect vector for any number of toppings. Try something simple such as raisins and cinnamon, or go fancier with pecans, sprouts, and a spoonful of kimchi, pickled beets, or marinated artichoke hearts, plus a big pinch of arugula.

So there are many quick ways to include more fruits and vegetables into your diet – it just takes a little imagination, some preparation, and fun experimenting J

I’d love to hear any easy, low preparation methods you have used to amp up your diet – share your tips below in the comments section..

 Alternative Health Therapies Magazine by Kate Grainger

Kate Grainger & Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Pomegranate – Steeped in Mythology, but very Medicinal

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The pomegranate is such an unusual fruit, and had been speculated to be the Tree of Life, and there are beliefs that it was the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden Its Latin name literally means ‘seeded apple’. It is a symbol of hope, one of the ‘three lessed fruits’ in Buddhism, and a symbol of resurrection in Christianity. It’s easy to see why this odd morsel has remained in our culture throughout history when steeped in such strong belief systems.

It has an amazing history and features in ancient Egyptian tomb paintings. Numerous papyrus references state that it was used as a medicine and a food, and refer to it as a religious symbol and a symbol of fertility. Thus it became a food recommended for the childless woman, and was grown in early places of worship. Pomegranates were also said to have grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

But regardless of the mythology and its origins, I am fascinated by the rearing and properties of this humble fruit and how it can benefit our health.

MEDICINAL USES

 Ancient Greek physicians used pomegranate juice and seeds to treat bronchitis, as an anti-inflammatory, as a cough suppressant and for diarrhoea and dysentery. Medical research today confirms all the above uses, as well as pomegranate’s benefit in cases of night sweats, atherosclerosis, asthma, tonsillitis and chest ailments. It also strengthens the capillaries and, surprisingly, activates bone regeneration. I’ve used it in my skin creams to clear acne, to regenerate the skin, to give it a glow, and to soothe sunburn.

Pomegranate is rich in antioxidants and is a superb treatment for prostate problems, particularly prostate cancer, and it slows the rate of tumour formation. The fruit and juice are simply incredible during menopause and post-menopause, and the dried seed contains oestrogen-type compounds. Researchers have found that the ellagic acid in fresh pomegranate seed juice helps to prevent the earliest chemical reactions within the body that may lead to breast cancer, particularly in families where breast cancer is a reality, and scientists and doctors have recorded reduced incidence of breast cancer with pomegranate intake.

CULINARY USES

 Pressed pomegranate juice, drunk immediately after juicing and with no sugar or preservatives added, is like drinking gold – it is so valuable for all age groups. Eat a teaspoonful or two of the sun-dried seeds daily and add them to seed and spice mixes. In a grinder, mix equal quantities of dried pomegranate seeds, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Grind this over plain breakfast yoghurt or porridge; in this way you can enjoy pomegranate seeds all year round. The brilliant fresh seeds can be sprinkled on salads and fruit salads, and are used in smoothies and beverages, in baking, and as a food garnish. The taste ranges from sweet to sour, depending on ripeness and cultivar.

ANC Pomegranate 02 by Kate Grainger.jpgCULTIVATION

 The little trees need to be spaced two to three metres apart, closer if you want a hedge. Plant each tree in a large, deep hole filled with good, old compost mixed with topsoil. Add a cup of rock dust, sprinkled around the hole, as you sink the tree into it. Fill the hole with water to wet the roots thoroughly; then build a ‘dam’ around it to retain water. I find that sinking a metre-long, wide plastic pipe into the hole at an angle helps to get water deep down to the roots. Insert a hose into the pipe once a week. Water at least three times a week in the summer and once or twice a week in winter. Dig in a small barrow of compost around each tree, three times a year, to ensure a good fruiting crop. The spring flowers are vividly orange and indicate a rich harvest. We sell the little trees throughout the summer, reminding each buyer of their blessing and symbolism of life, longevity, fertility and wisdom.

PROPAGATION

 Strip off a short twig with a little ‘heel’ and press it carefully into a pot or bag of moist, rich soil. Keep it shaded and protected, and water daily or on alternate days, depending on how well the soil holds moisture. The young tree should be ready for planting in about three years. There is something infinitely satisfying about propagating pomegranates.

HARVESTING AND PROCESSING

 Dry the ripe seeds spread out on a tray in a warm place. Shake the tray daily to ensure even drying and, once dry, store the seeds in a glass screw-top jar.

Alternative Health Therapies Magazine by Kate Grainger

© Kate Grainger & Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Take a good look at yo’self!

Take a good look at yoself Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

I decided it was time to get serious about my #healthgoals and take a proper stab at losing some weight and increasing my endurance… that’s the Pageant way of saying I felt fat and needed to do something other than starvation.

I’ve managed to let 20kgs creep on my hips and thighs over the past 2 years. Now I’m at the point where I don’t feel attractive in my clothes anymore. So I started to eat clean* and expected the weight to melt away like it did in my 20’s

The results: Bitch you’re delusional!

You’re practically middle-aged! You work as a writer. Sitting on your dimply ass banging away at a keyboard all day. The most amount of exercise you get is lifting a weak cup of tea to your lips in a poor excuse for a bicep curl.

Snap out of it!

Sorry about that – I was watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and the inner Diva emerged. But in truth I think I needed to be read. I’ve been telling my friends I was on this health kick, and I have been for many years. Making sure I was eating the right food, and the right amount of food. Getting regular exercise. But nothing happened. Instead, I actually got fatter. What the Hell?

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Looking back I think it was because as soon as I got a little bit uncomfortable, or just started to sweat in the workouts, I had decided that was enough.

Duh! Have you not watched any weight loss television show? Do you not see the thousands of Gym’s and Weight Loss Centres all around? Doesn’t that tell you that slimming down isn’t that easy?

I didn’t want to believe it. I wanted to be that one in a million girl that never has trouble managing her weight… like I said – delusional!

So what am I doing to change it? Well I did the gym thing, and it was too easy to skip when the weather was bad, or I had a packed schedule. And every now and then, I’d cheat on the meal plans – only because I was continually re-stocking the pantry with biscuits to temp me. One snack here and there adds up to a lot of biscuits by the end of the week.

I stopped buying foods that I shouldn’t eat. And I bought an elliptical. That helped. A lot. But it didn’t all magically happen from there. I had months of stop-start with the healthy lifestyle I had pictured for myself. It is true that weight loss is about training your mind. Finding that strength inside to keep going.

So after many, many, many, many, many (well, you get the picture), many failed attempts; I’m finally starting to see results. I have a system that works for me. Controlling what I eat isn’t too hard for me, so the perseverance came from working out. Every day. I started with an attainable goal, half an hour of walking, and each week increased the intensity. Now I’m running 10km mist mornings in 45 mins followed by some sit-up and stretches. And I feel great.

It’s not about me having lost any weight, in fact I wasn’t weighing myself at all. Just the fact that I’d achieved something I thought impossible makes be happy. Things aren’t jiggling as much on the elliptical anymore, so I know I’m toning up. Though I have to also be careful with my expectations… suddenly fitting back into a size 8 after a week is. What? You say? DELUSIONAL!

But I’m hoping for half a kilo or maybe a whole one… So what are the results?

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After being on the regimen for 6 weeks I’ve lost 2.5kgs and an inch from around my thighs and waist. So I finally feel I’m on the right track. Something is working! So my journey with continue through the Australian winter, and who knows, maybe come spring I’ll feel confident enough to don a swimsuit again (of course after I tame the native forest that has populated my legs under pants in the chill).

So to anyone who is wants to change the way they think about their weight – don’t worry about the number on the scale. Not at the start. Begin to develop a daily habit of exercising and cleaning up the type of food you consume. By no means have I jumped straight into an extremely healthy diet, and daily workouts, it took me a few months of building it up slowly to get to the point where I’m starting to see results. That’s because I have no motivational trainer, have a low tolerance for pain and discomfort, and let’s face it, not exercised regularly beyond breaking out in a sweat for many (too many to count) years. I work at a sedentary job – so yes, I am a marshmallow. It was more beneficial for me to get into a routine, and build from there.

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Once you’ve trained you brain that this is what you do every day, it is not going to fight back to slip into old habits. IT will also allow you to increase the intensity or length of your workouts every few weeks without feeling like you’re about to die.

Well that’s the start of my journey to a happier, healthier body and mind – I hope it can help someone else along a similar path. Go for it!

*Eating clean is a term used by nutritionists regarding consuming foods if their most natural state. For me, it meant cutting out things that came in packets – those notorious biscuits, chips, anything processed. I also made an attempt to reduce the amount of sugar intake, the number of cups of tea/coffee. I also had one day (usually Saturday) where I didn’t follow any rules as a reward/relax. And let me tell you – I stopped wanting junk/fast food and actually craved healthy meals as sugary foods left me feeling sluggish and headachy.

I wasn’t strict about the routine or eating plan simply because it would be unrealistic to expect me to follow it – I’m a rule breaker, so leaving some leeway keeps me on goal.

Casey Carlisle Contributing byline

Alternative Health Therapies Magazine by Kate Grainger

© Casey Carlisle & Kate Grainger 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Choosing nature’s brew

Came across an old article from the Townsville Bulliten I was interviewed for discussing the comparison of homeopathic medicine against traditional medicine. While it only opens a general discussion without going into case studies, it’s great to see a dialogue opened about all options of prevention and cure of ailments…

ANC Newspaper Article by Kate Grainger

Iridology is a powerful tool to add to any medical practice

Understand Thyself

“Iridology is a truth of life in the body. Once Iridology vocabulary and methods of analysis are learned and practiced, Iridology can be integrated to support any method of analysis, medicinal or alternative treatment, and to any condition, whether chronic or acute, because it gives valuable information about the unique individual.” Farida Sharan

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What is Naturopathy  

Health Schools Australia

Basic Facts About Naturopathy And The Naturopathy Diet

According to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), naturopathy is a form of primary health car that can be regarded as a philosophy, art and science when it comes to the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of illnesses. Among these is the naturopathy diet, which is designed to help and support your body in healing and improving from within.

Naturopathic Practitioners Follow The Hippocratic Oath: First Do No Harm

Naturopathic practitioners hold a four-year degree in Naturopathic Medicine (ND), which is received after rigorous graduate level study in conventional medicine (i.e. neurology, pediatrics, pharmacology, pathology, immunology, cardiology, gynecology and biochemistry), along with specific training in natural healing methods (i.e. hydrotherapy, lifestyle counseling, exercise therapy, physical medicine, homeopathy, botanical medicines and clinical nutrition). An ND combines all of this training to couple diet, exercise and general lifestyle with standard medical practices as needed…

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