Reading is one of my favourite past times, it's a fantastic way to unwind, enjoy a great story or provides a chance to learn. Not only does reading a good book allow you to take some time out, it can also benefit your health. Experts have said that a brain activity such as reading improves your memory, boosts concentration and allows you to de-stress. Those who read could be 2.5 less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those who spend their down time on less stimulating activities. Reading before bed can also help you to have a better nights sleep due to your body and mind being able to unwind and relax, allowing you to sleep well. With so many amazing health benefits provided by reading, I wanted to provide you with my top 5 book choices that will change your life for the better.
Hippies In The City - A Guide To Natural Urban Living by Rita Balshaw
A exciting and informative collection of insightful nutritional advice, recipes, lifestyle tips, super helpful and natural skincare suggestions and much more. Its also a directory of all the best organic, wholesome cafes around. Overall Hippies in the city encompasses a holistic approach to living – you will discover ways to take your health and wellbeing into your own hands and basically learn how to feel and live better. You could call it 'bible' for modern-day hippies!
Make Peace With Your Plate by Jessica Ainscough
Make Peace With Your Plate is part memoir and part exploration into the possibility of ditching diets and mending our torturous relationships with food. It’s about getting back to basics, eating real food, loving and accepting ourselves, and establishing a relationship with food where the love is a two-way street. The book features foods for a healthy mind and body, essential elements other than food that contribute to your wellbeing, simple daily practices to help you look and feel amazing as well as easy to follow and super healthy recipes. Written by Jessica Ainscough, known as the Wellness Warrior passed away in 2015 after seven years battling an extremely rare cancer, epithelioid sarcoma. Jessica decided to choose alternative treatment for her cancer which unfortunately was no match for her cancer. Prior to becoming very unwell Jessica created her tribe the Wellness Warrior and her book Make Peace with your Plate.
The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle
A #1 national bestseller The Power Of Now is inspired by Eckhart Tolle who describes his transition from despair to self-realization soon after his 29th birthday. Although it took another ten years to understand this transformation, during which time he evolved a philosophy that has parallels in Buddhism, relaxation techniques, and meditation theory but is also eminently practical. Eckhart shares with readers how to recognize themselves as the creators of their own pain, and how to have a pain-free existence by living fully in the present. Accessing the deepest self, the true self, can be learned, he says, by freeing ourselves from the conflicting, unreasonable demands of the mind and living present, fully, and intensely, in the Now.
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Rhonda Byrne, like each of us, has been on her own journey of discovery. In The Secret, she explains with simplicity the law of attraction. Fragments of a Great Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. For the first time, all the pieces of The Secret come together in an incredible revelation life-transforming for all who experience it. In this book, you'll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life - money, health, relationships, happiness, and in every interaction you have in the world. You'll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that's within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life. The Secret contains wisdom from modern-day teachers - men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth, and happiness
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
Written by the best selling author Glennon Doyle Melton who shares her experience of discovering her husbands fidelity. Love Warrior is the story of one marriage, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible for any of us when we refuse to settle for good enough and begin to face pain and love head-on. Love Warrior is a gorgeous and inspiring account of how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all. This chronicle of a beautiful, brutal journey speaks to anyone who yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life. Love Warrior has also recently made it onto Oprah's Book Club list - if it's loved by Oprah you know it's good!
In a 12-month period, over two million Australians experience anxiety and it's estimated that 45% of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime - which is almost half of the population.
Mental health challenges are such a common and normal condition many of us are facing on a daily basis, and the factors vary from person to person so understanding the core of your stress and anxiety is a good place to start. I've personally dealt with anxiety for many years now due to a few different factors - childhood experiences as well as prolonged stress which caused me to develop adrenal fatigue. I've incorporated simple additions into my daily regimen which has powerfully benefited me to manage my stress and anxiety and now want to share with you my 6 remedies to assist to manage your stress and anxiety, in an affordable and simple way.
Meditation has been a life saver for me! It's something that you can do any time, anywhere and for free. There are meditations to help you with absolutely everything, such as to reduce stress and to relax and have a peaceful night's sleep, to build your self confidence or to let go of the past. There are excellent free meditation apps out there, some of the more popular ones are The Mindfulness App, Headspace, Calm and Omvana. There are also free options on Youtube - just search for the type of meditation you're after and you'll more than likely find numerous options to choose from. You don't need to meditate for long each day to feel positive the affects. One study found that mindfulnes and stress/anxiety reducing meditations significantly reduce stress when practiced over a period of three months. Another study revealed that meditation literally reduces the density of brain tissue associated with anxiety and worrying.
Take Time Out For Yourself
Allowing yourself alone time each week (or each day) is super important as it provides you the chance to unwind, relax and de-brief the stuff (noise) in your mind. Allocating time to read a book, watch a movie or get a massage is a great way to de-stress and provides you the chance to think deeply and listen to your inner self. When we are overwhelmed it can be hard to manage all of the thoughts we are having and this can create negative thoughts and patterns, so when we are faced with stress and anxiety, time to ourselves can provide a better understanding of why it's happening.
As it's commonly known, exercise produces endorphins in the body and scientists have found that regular exercise reduces stress and anxiety, improves our overall mood, provides additional energy and helps us to have a great nights sleep. Exercise has also shown that it's effects can be almost instant in providing stress relief and a mood booster. In one study, researchers also found that those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25% less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years.
Nourish Your Body
It's true what they say about your body being a temple, as the food and drinks you put into your body directly impact your overall health and wellness - including your mental health. When we eat healthy fresh food, it provides our mind and bodies with powerful nutrients to allow us to be happy and healthy. These nutrients fuel our minds to be able to think clearly and be able to adapt to and handle stress. When we eat unhealthy foods filled with unhealthy fats and sugars our bodies are not provided with the amount of nutrients needed to cope with these stressful situations that can cause depression and anxiety. We can also benefit from specific foods that have been shown to help reduce anxiety:
Take A Daily Prebiotic
The health of our digestion is very important, since a large percentage (about 95%) of serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut. Studies suggest that taking a daily good prebiotic is ideal to benefit both emotional processing and stress hormone levels. Prebiotics are bascially food for the good bacteria in our increasing the amount of good bacteria in the gut and are best taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
There can be a lot said for the power of the mind, with so many of us reading books like The Secret or practicing process of daily affirmations, focusing on the positive glass-half-full mindset can really help to train our minds to automatically think positively, pushing out those negative thoughts. Positive thinking often starts with self-talk, creating optimistic thoughts which can provide ongoing positive affects to your mental health as well as your overall health and wellness. Research suggests that positive thinking can provide health benefits such as:
Every journey begins with a single step, said Maya Angelou, echoing Lao Tzu’s words of wisdom. Who could better understand the power of small changes than the founder of Taoism? The main principles behind this philosophical tradition can be boiled down to simplicity, naturalness, and spontaneity. In the same vein, the most effective way of improving the quality of your life and achieving big goals is by taking baby steps. People tend to underestimate various simple activities that could actually make a big difference. No matter how busy or tired you are, you can always find 5 minutes to do something good for yourself.
Do the Dishes
A kitchen sink full of dirty dishes is wrong on many levels. All that greasy mess is not pleasant to look at, while it’s also a breeding ground for cockroaches and other bugs. Doing the dishes right after you eat will keep your kitchen clean and pest-free, and it will help you overcome procrastination which is one of the most frequent obstacles that stands in the way of your personal growth and development.
Even a quick yoga workout in the morning will improve your circulation, wake you up, and relax your muscles. This is especially beneficial for people who have sedentary jobs. Yoga stretches can do wonders for stiffness, as well as for back and neck pain. Kick-start your day the right way and set an energetic tone. If you need help determining the best exercises for you, professional advice is hard to beat. Yogis from Santosha Yoga Institute can be really helpful when it comes to figuring out your workout plan since they provide online lessons, meaning you can have a professional course in the comfort of your home.
Drink Lemon Water
All you need is a glass of warm water and the juice of half a lemon. Drink this refreshing potion in the morning and watch it work its magic. Apart from boosting your energy levels and lifting your spirits, lemon water will also detox your liver, flush your kidneys and hydrate your body. In other words, it will balance your metabolism, which is why it’s great for weight loss. A research has shown that replacing caloric beverages with lemon water can result in a loss of 2.5% of body weight.
Start Dry Brushing
Dry brushing is an ancient practice that stimulates the lymphatic system, unclogs the pores, and helps the body eliminate toxins by stimulating the kidneys and the liver. This procedure will definitely refresh and rejuvenate your skin and make it glow. Women can greatly benefit from dry brushing, as it’s one of the inevitable methods for reducing cellulite. As its name says, dry brushing is performed on dry skin, and the movements should be directed towards the heart. After you’ve finished, take a shower.
Look After Your Plants
You don’t have any? Do something about that and get at least one. You don’t need to have a green thumb or be an expert in gardening. Growing herbs isn’t that complicated and you’ll always have fresh dill, coriander, basil or mint for cooking. Looking after plants can also have therapeutic effects, as it’s a calming and relaxing activity.
Appreciate the Little Things
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t dream big, but you need to establish the right perspective on things. It’s essential to enjoy the little things, as they’re the ones that make your life beautiful and worth living. Setting a low bar for happiness is the first step towards a good and fulfilled day. Have a cup of coffee with a close friend, go for a walk, watch a movie, or listen to your favorite music. And don’t forget to be happy about the things you have, instead of setting unrealistic expectations.
Being creative doesn’t necessarily refer to artistic activities. You can also express your creativity in the kitchen and experiment with various recipes for sweet treats. Why settle for commercial baked goods (which are, by the way, associated with a higher risk of depression) when you can make your own, healthy cookies? Commercial household cleaners are toxic and can be especially dangerous if you have kids or pets, so rolling up your sleeves and making your own, efficient and yet non-toxic solution is both useful and in a way creative.
Whenever you feel that annoying urge to judge or criticize somebody, try putting yourself in their shoes and show some understanding. Instead of judging, it’s better to try and find something positive about the people you meet. Giving a sincere compliment will definitely make both you and the other person feel good. In the same manner, hug the people you love every day, because physical intimacy reduces stress and increases feelings of warmth and emotional security.
According to Kaizen, a Japanese business philosophy, big goals can be achieved by systematically introducing a series of small changes. It takes only 5 minutes a day to improve your life and there’s no excuse for not at least trying to do it.
This week I welcomed Nicole to our Live Naturally blog to share her tips on 5 minute activities that can make your life better. Nicole is a lifestyle blogger passionate about yoga, fitness and healthy living. She enjoys sharing her experiences and ideas on how to lead a happy and healthy life. If you want to read more from Nicole you can find her on Twitter and FB.
This week I've been lucky enough to chat with Casey-Lee, nutritionist and naturopath and creator of Live Love Nourish who offers real food recipes and nutrition and lifestyle tips for a healthier and happier you...
Casey-Lee you’ve created such an amazing company around educating and inspiring individuals to improve their health. Can you please explain your inspiration for becoming a qualified nutritionist and naturopath, and why it means so much to you to support people with their health and wellbeing?
Thank you so much for your kind words. There is no greater feeling than to feel your best and healthiest self so I became a qualified nutritionist and naturopath to help inspire others that they too deserve to feel great and through nutrition and lifestyle we can greatly influence how we feel and our ability to bring ALL of us to our lives; to our family; to work; to our friends; to whatever makes up your life. When we look after our health and our body we are able to enjoy life to the fullest.
My aim is provide simple and practical holistic nutrition and lifestyle advice to support others to love and nourish their body for healthier and happier life.
You’re a nutritionist, naturopath, whole foods recipe developer, freelance wellness writer, content creator, health and nutrition ambassador, food and health blogger and a Mum! (Deep breath!) Is there anything you can’t do!? Share with us what a day in the life of Casey-Lee looks like. Haha, yes there are many different arms to my brand Live Love Nourish, all of which are incredibly fun ways to share my passion for health and wellness.
My days are all very different and most depend on my toddler and her activities. A typical day might be starting the day rising early to enjoy some “me time” and a cup of herbal tea or bone broth just before Gracie (my toddler) wakes, followed by making breakfast together and going for a walk in the sunshine. The bulk of my day is made up of: when she's awake we play and when she's asleep I work on the business whether that be recipe development, writing blog posts, supporting the members of my online nutrition program etc. Our evenings are mostly spent in the kitchen together, getting Gracie involved in preparing dinner and family time.
You offer a Live Love Nourish 8 week program, can you share how this came about and how this program works?
I believe that in order to feel our best we need to consider a holistic approach to our health that considers our nutrition, lifestyle as well as our relationship with ourselves and food. When you are making choices that nourish your body and support a healthy life your body rewards you with energy, health and feeling and looking your best. This is why I created the Live Love Nourish 8-Week Program; an interactive online guide for living your healthiest and best self.
The program aims to inspire you to nourish your body with 8 weeks of healthy meal plans, easy recipes and nutrition and lifestyle guides for increased energy, finding your natural weight, improving your gut and digestive health, balancing hormones, curbing sugar cravings, developing a healthy relationship with your body and nourishing it with real food.
No matter where you are on your health journey, whether your are just starting out or are living a healthy lifestyle, I created the program to support others to feel healthier and happier. The program provides qualified advice, practical tools and support to develop a healthy and positive relationship with food and your body; because I believe a healthy outside starts on the inside. You can find out more about the program on the Live Love Nourish website.
You feature so many delicious, healthy and nutritious recipes for LLN. I love the fact that they are easy recipes, simple for anyone to follow and that they are all free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar! Can you share with us your favourite recipe at the moment and the health benefits it provides?
I believe that health and nutrition should be simple and achievable. As a mum I absolutely understand how busy life can be so I create my recipes with this in mind as well as with the understanding that our bodies thrive on simplicity. One of my favourite simple recipes at the moment is my sugar free banana bread. Made with just 5 ingredients, it’s rich in protein and healthy fat to keep you full for longer and reduce sugar cravings, and being naturally sweetened with banana only its sugar and sweetener free which is of course great for our bodies, helping to maintain a healthy weight and keep blood sugar levels stable. You can find the recipe here.
One of your focuses is improving gut and digestive health and I know this is a common challenge many of us face due to intolerance's and so on, what do you suggest are the best wholefoods to improve our gut health?
Yes, the state of your gut and digestive system greatly influences your health and can even effect your metabolism, mood and immune health. Generally a whole foods approach to our diet is a great support for gut health. Specific foods that can positively influence gut heath include gut friendly foods such as fermented veggies (such as kimchi and sauerkraut which are rich in probiotics), prebiotic rich foods (gut bacteria feed on prebiotic foods) such as apples, asparagus, bananas, onion, leek and garlic (depending on tolerance), bone broth and veggies rich in fibre.
Have you found that the concerns or focuses on health and well-being when it comes to naturopathy and nutrition has changed over the years and if so, what is the current focus point/s for individuals turning to you to improve their health?
I’ve found that over the years nutrition, naturopathy and health in general is becoming a much more popular topic as well as our understanding of the body and what influences our health constantly advancing. There seems to also be a mindset shift away from dieting and towards ‘nourishing’, which is great to see!
I am finding a lot of people are currently seeking support for practical, simple and time-friendly ways we can nourish ourselves and our families; healing our relationships with food and our body; a whole food focus; reducing chemical exposure and of course supporting those with common symptoms around gut health, digestive issues, hormone imbalances, fatigue and anxiety (to name a few).
If someone is wanting to begin (or improve) their wellness journey, what would be the most important tip you could share with them?
One of my top tips would be to listen to your body and do what works best for you.
Every body is different and your nutritional needs are unique. I believe in listening to your body to discover a diet that best works for you. Your body holds much wisdom inside we just need to pause a little and tune in. Much like the saying “if you listen to when your body whispers, you won't have to hear it scream.”
If you’d like to find out more about Casey-Lee, for more healthy tips and recipes or to download her FREE recipe e-book please visit her website www.livelovenourish.com.au
You can also follow Live Love Nourish on Instagram @livelovenourishaus