Matcha Coconut Bliss Balls

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Matcha Coconut Bliss Balls

These Matcha Coconut Bliss Balls are absolutely divine. They are the perfect substitute for sugary desserts and will energize you in a much healthier way. Matcha is packed with health benefits. It contains antioxidants like chlorophyll, boosts your metabolism naturally, enhances mood and calms your mind and body. For more plant-based energizing recipes, check out my new ebook ENERGIZE.

Makes 12-15 balls

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups dried unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1/3 cup almond meal 
2 tbsp coconut nectar or 2 tbsp melted coconut butter for keto
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract 
1/4 tsp pink salt 
1 tsp high quality matcha powder 

Optional

add 1 scoop vanilla plant protein powder 

if keto, you can add a drop of stevia for sweetness

DIRECTIONS

1) Add all ingredients into a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. 
2) Add a little extra coconut oil if necessary
Roll the mixture into bite size balls, coating them in coconut/matcha as you go.
3) Store in the refrigerator. 
4) Enjoy!

To store:

1) Keep in airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. 
2) Store in freezer for up to 1 month.

To serve:

1) Let the refrigerated balls sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes to soften. 

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Heart Opening Yoga Sequence

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The heart shakra sits at the centre of our chests (yep, right next to your heart). In ancient sanskrit, an open heart shakra meant to be “unhurt, unstuck or unbeaten”.

In today’s world, a balanced heart chakra can mean more love, both passionate and compassionate. A blocked heart shakra can lead to loneliness, jealousy, anger or hurt. A blocked shakra is also thought to cause sickness in the chest area (like breast cancer).

Here are some yoga poses that will help you open up your heart’s energy channels and invite love into your life.

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The Only 8 Yoga Poses You Need To Spice Things Up In The Bedroom

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As you probably know, practicing yoga elicits many benefits for the body, mind and soul. One of it’s lesser known benefits, is its ability to help you heat up the passion in the bedroom.

Yoga can truly boost your sex life in amazing ways. For starters, a regular yoga practice helps you become more aware of your body, which can heighten sensation during sex. Practice breathing in the bedroom as you would on your mat and you will be amazed at the increased depth of feeling and emotion.

Furthermore, as your body becomes stronger and more toned, you will likely become more confident of your body, especially when naked. Lastly, as you become more flexible, you can start to add more and more poses to your sexual repertoire.

So, what you waiting for? Head to your yoga mat and start working through this sex-boosting yoga sequence to spice things up in the bedroom.

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Beautiful Skin from the Inside Out

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Beautiful Skin from the Inside Out

1. Drink lots and lots of water. Hydration is crucial for beautiful skin, make sure you're getting in at least 8 glasses of filtered alkaline water every single day. 

2. Probiotics. Gut health is really important for getting and maintaining glowing skin. If your gut microbiome is out of balance, you can experience inflammation and an overgrowth of bad bacteria, which can both lead to skin outbreaks, redness and swelling.

4. Eat the rainbow. Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants which will help rid your body of toxins caused by everyday living. The more colorful your diet, the better.

5. Detox. Swear off of meat, sugar, dairy and alcohol for a week and watch your skin glow by the minute.

6. Sweat. Working up a sweat helps your skin detox and also helps your body circulate oxygen and important nutrients. 

7. Sleep. Beauty sleep is real! While you sleep your skin is regenerating itself. Make sure to get at least 8 hours of undisturbed sleep.

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The Importance of Sleep During the Holidays and Every Day

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The Importance of Sleep During the Holidays and Every Day

Sleep is so, so important. Not just during the short chaotic days of the holidays, but all the time. We need at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night to help our bodies and minds stay healthy. During the holidays, I love to get in a lot of extra sleep - sometimes I sleep 14 hours in a night! 

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Sleep has so many amazing benefits including:

  • Stress reduction - sleep will lower your cortisol levels.

  • Weight control - if you find yourself lacking in sleep, it can slow down your metabolism in a major way.

  • Mood regulation - if you're not getting enough sleep, you may fall victim to depression or anxiety.

  • Beauty - beauty sleep is a really thing! Getting enough sleep will keep your skin glowing and eliminate dark, puffy circles.

Here are a few ways that you can make sure to get a good night's sleep:

  • Eat dinner early - eat dinner early on in the evening to give your body time to digest before you head to bed. 

  • Don't drink caffeine after 3pm - even late afternoon caffeine can ruin your restful shut eye. Try to hold off of caffeinated drinks later in the day.

  • Don't exercise late at night - the buzz from endorphins after a workout will keep you stimulated for awhile. Try to get your classes in earlier in the day. 

  • Switch off from technology - I like to turn off my phone and computer a full hour before heading to bed. Pick up a novel or take a soothing bath instead of vegging in front of the tv. 

  • Cup of relaxing herbal tea - a warm cup of chamomile tea will help set the mood for a calm and restful sleep. 

  • Take a bath - a soothing bath with some aromatherapy salts will help you melt away any tension built up in your body. 

  • Meditate - meditating before bedtime can help you disconnect from your worries and stresses and will help you enter into sleep on a whole new level. 

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Vegan Holiday Bark

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Vegan Holiday Bark

This delicious vegan chocolate bark makes the perfect treat for the holidays. Not only is it delicious, it is also packed with superfoods, high quality plant protein and holiday joy. Enjoy!

Cook time 5 mins 

INGREDIENTS

  • 8oz Vegan Dark Chocolate 
  • 8oz Vegan White Chocolate 
  • 1 Scoop 22 Days Nutrition Chocolate Protein Powder 
  • 1 Scoop 22 Days Nutrition Vanilla Protein Powder 
  • 1/3 Cup pistachios (sub any nuts)
  • 1/3 Cup cranberries (sub any fruit/seed) 

DIRECTIONS

  • Line a baking tray with cooking paper
  • Combine dark chocolate and protein powder stir and melt stove. Do the same with white chocolate. 
  • Spread dark chocolate over backing tray. 
  • Pour white chocolate over dark and use a fork to spread and create marble effect. 
  • Sprinkle with pistachios and cranberries and freeze for 30 minutes. Enjoy!!

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Vegan Yam Pie

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Vegan Yam Pie

Nothing says holiday cheer like a Yam Pie! Not all pies are created equal, this is my special recipe for a healthier version of this all-time favorite. Not only is my recipe for Yam Pie vegan and gluten-free, I've also used a scoop of 22 Days protein powder to add a healthful dose of plant protein. I top mine with coconut whip cream to make it extra tasty.

INGREDIENTS

  1. 6 Steamed and peeled sweet potatoes
  2. 2 Tbsp egg substitue mixed with water
  3. 2 Scoops @22daysnutrition Vanilla Protein Powder
  4. 2 Handfuls Gluten Free Rolled Oats
  5. 4 tbsp Maple Syrup (any sweetener date/agave)
  6. 1/2 Cup Almond Milk 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Blend all ingredients together in high speed blender until smooth 
  2. Pour into gluten-free pie crust
  3. Bake in oven on 350 for 1 hour
  4. Let Cool. Top with Coconut Whip and mint leaves. 

Enjoy!

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7 Tips to Eat Mindfully this Holiday Season

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7 Tips to Eat Mindfully this Holiday Season

It is so easy to fall into temptation over the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it get the best of you. By making mindful choices, this can be your healthiest holiday season yet. Why not get through the next couple of months feeling healthy and well, so you can finally leave losing weight off of your New Year’s Resolutions list. I've put together 7 Mindful Eating Tips for the Holidays for my friends at plant-based nutrition leader, 22 Days.

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Melissa Wood's Luscious Cinnamon Hazelnut Avocado Mousse

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Melissa Wood's Luscious Cinnamon Hazelnut Avocado Mousse

Everybody needs a little sweetness in their life, especially this time of year. I absolutely love my friend Melissa Wood's Cinnamon Hazelnut Avocado Mousse because it looks and tastes super decadent, but is actually really healthy. Not only is this delicious mousse vegan, it is also packed with superfoods and my absolute favorite food - avocados!

For more delicious recipes and to check out Melissa's popular 'In the Flow' workout, melissawoodhealth.com

Cinnamon Hazelnut Avocado Mousse

INGREDIENTS: ALL ORGANIC

  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk6 ripe avocados
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao (not cocoa) powder
  • 5 tbsp coconut sugar5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tsp vanilla bean extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 cups raspberries
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PROCESS:

  1. Preheat toaster oven to 350 degrees for 4 minutes and add rinsed and dried hazelnuts for 4 minute or until they start to turn light brown.
  2. While the hazelnuts are toasting add 2 1/2 cups of coconut milk to vitamix.
  3. Scoop out the avocados and add to blender with 2 ripe peeled bananas.
  4. Add coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla bean extract, and cinnamon all to the blender and blend for 40 seconds until smooth. Add more coconut milk if necessary.
  5. Take hazelnuts out of the toaster and rinse raspberries.
  6. Scoop out all the avocado mousse from the blender into a medium size bowl and top with hazelnuts down the center and raspberries on both sides.
  7. Optional sprinkle a dash of cinnamon and maple syrup over the top as a final touch.
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How to Truly Relax and Revitalize While Traveling This Holiday Season

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How to Truly Relax and Revitalize While Traveling This Holiday Season

1. Clean up your diet and eat more plants pre-vacation so you can indulge guilt-free while traveling. 

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2. Take your vitamins to boost your immune system from winter travel germs. Don't forget to pack your hand sanitizer! 

3. Pack healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, veggies, protein bars, almond butter packs and skip processed airport foods. 

4. Hydrate drink lots of water to escape travel dehydration and jet lag. Bonus - add lemon to your water to help cleanse and detoxify. 

5. Meditate in your seat. Try a guided meditation tape to switch off from your surroundings while your en route to your vacation destination. 

6. Catch up on sleep. Use your travel time to catch up on extra Zzz's. Sleep in, take naps and don't set your alarm clock for the entire trip.

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7. Find your endorphins with mellow workouts like restorative yoga, pilates, hiking and beach walks. 

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Claire's Relax and Restore Holiday Gift Guide

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Claire's Relax and Restore Holiday Gift Guide

Self care is all the rage these days and for good reason. Our lives can be so busy and chaotic and if we don't take the time to relax and restore whether it be through meditation or restorative yoga or a spa day, it is possible to burn out or get stuck in a stressed and unhealthy cycle. Below are my favorite gifts for the men and women in your life who need some luscious R & R. 

Meditation Pillows

Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Meditation Cushion. I spotted these meditation cushions from Brentwood Home at Yoga Works recently and immediately fell in love. 

ABC Home also sells beautifully constructed Meditation sets:

 
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Next Level Yoga Mats

Some time all you need to relax is a little time on the mat. A beautiful yoga mat can make it easier to make practice a habit. 

 

     
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    Restorative Props

    Props can help deepen your stretches and restorative poses. Here are a few favorites that my clients love:

     
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    Teas & Superfoods

    Sipping on some calming tea or a super food blend can help get you in the restorative mood.

     
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    Aromatherapy

    Relaxing scents like lavender, ylang ylang and jasmine can help get you into a relaxed mood. I love this diffuser and oils from Saje.

     
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    Bath & Spa

    Taking a bath is one of the best and easiest ways to decompress. I love using natural aromatherapy infused bath salts to help deepen the moment.

     
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    Journal 

    Journaling is a great way to release the tensions of the day. 

    This spectacular journal from Elena Brower can help you find your inner you.

    Practice You Journal

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     
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    7 LIFE-CHANGING WAYS TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS EVERY DAY

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    7 LIFE-CHANGING WAYS TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS EVERY DAY

    The following is a guest blog post from internationally known yoga specialist, Claire Grieve.

    If you are anything like 99.9% of humans, finding time for yourself can be closely compared to finding a needle in a haystack—impossible. Life seems to always find a way to continuously shove obstacles in your path to self-righteousness.

    In celebration of our 47th Earth Day, we all need to put life on pause to take a moment and appreciate the world around us. Yes, that means literally stop and smell the roses. What better way to honor Earth day then to connect with mother nature by engaging mindfulness into our daily lives. Practicing mindfulness is imperative to our personal prosperity, a few moments of mental tranquility a day may just be the key to happiness.

    Integrate these 7 simple yet life-changing techniques to become more “mindful” everyday.

    Gratitude

    The powers of gratitude extend beyond a short “thank you”. Gratitude is something you feel, to feel grateful for the good and the bad, the big or small details of daily life. It’s simple, if you project gratitude, you will see a giving world in return. Be sure to radiate gratefulness within yourself and toward others to live a long happy life! 

    You can integrate gratitude into everyday life by keeping a daily journal. Write down at least 3 things you’re grateful for that you experienced throughout the day. An event, a person, an emotional you felt, something you experienced that made you happy. Gratitude helps you to be aware of each moment you experience therefore keeping you more present. 

    Breathing

    Breathing can be categorized as one of the most effortless and repetitive of our daily human actions. It can also be one of the most mentally rehabilitating. Conscious breathing exercises can work wonders for your mind and body. According to the internationally recognized, Andrew Weil, M.D., “Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.”

    Mindful breathing can be done anytime and anywhere as long as you are able to focus on your breathing patterns. Your full attention should be on every inhale and exhale, closing your eyes or softening your gaze. If your mind wanders, bring your focus back to your breath. Do this as many times a day as necessary, especially during high stress situations.

    Meditation

    Meditation is quickly becoming a buzzword. Most of us feel like we don't have five minutes to sit down and relax which gives us even more reason to find our inner calm. Throughout our lifetime, it’s very rare we take the time to give our mind a little break. We push our minds daily with thought after thought, creating tension, anxiety, and restlessness. With so much daily pressure it’s crucial we take the time to revitalize our mind’s awareness by giving our brains a daily break of absolutely nothing. Doing so will prompt your brain to restart with a clean slate and a more productive mindset.

    The Buddhists figured this out long ago. It’s imperative that we implement their meditation techniques into our modern-day lives and regular routines. The Huffington Post reported that mindfulness meditation can lower stress, change the brain in a protective way, and help you sleep better among many other benefits. 

    Try using an app to help with your meditation practice. Headspace, is meditation made simple. A personal trainer for your mind will guide you through 10 minutes of mindfulness on your journey to a healthier mind. Learning to be present through meditation helps you to experience greater clarity, calm and focus in everyday life. 

    Increase Your Awareness & Engage Senses

    Encourage yourself to take a short walk daily and focus your attention solely on the natural beauty our environment is made up of. Walking alone is extremely fortifying, it has been known to strengthen your heart, lowers disease risks, and is proven to make you happy. 

    During your walk, be sure to embrace all your senses by narrowing in on each smell, sight, sensation, and sound. Take in mother nature’s glory around you, be present and experience each moment as it is. Feel the tickling warmth of sunshine on your face, let the aromatic scent of fresh flowers steal you away as the crisp wind blows through your hair. A walk can be a truly entrancing experience.

    Use this time to disconnect from all your devices and be one with nature. It has been shown to bring about positive emotions, and activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which calms and restores us. Earth is our home, it’s time we fuse the endless benefits of mindfulness and connect with mother nature.

    Eating

    We are all guilty of rushing through our lunch break. Mealtimes are an important tool to include in our mindfulness practice. Take the time to engulf yourself in every burst of flavor each mouthwatering bite provides. Mealtime should never be rushed, if done properly, food can feed the mind, body, and soul. It can activate your senses and awaken your mind.

    Do yourself a favor and try to have one meal a day in a quiet and serene area, be present and focused as you unhurriedly and peacefully enjoy your food. Be sure to stay off your cell phones. That way, we become more mindful to our senses and eating only what we need to satisfy us. You will start to notice and enjoy smells, textures and tasting flavors you’ve never experienced, bringing joy into every bite. The positivity is guaranteed to follow you into every aspect of your life. 

    Wake up well

    Most of us are guilty of waking up to our irking iPhone alarm, checking emails and Instagram notifications before quickly jumping out of bed. Well it’s time to try something a little different. First things first, set an old-school alarm! Change the alarm tone to a more soothing, blissful sound. Set it for at least 30 minutes earlier than usual, this will allow you to take your time to wake-up mindfully thus peacefully. Be sure to feel your body wake up, wiggle your fingers and toes, stretch your arms and legs, take a few big inhales and exhales and set a positive mindset to start the day.

    Take some time to make yourself hot water with lemon or head to your yoga mat to get your body moving with a few rounds of sun salutations and meditation. You can also casually forget your cell phone at home while you take a refreshing morning walk, it’s a great way to clear your head. Whichever approach you chose to cure your Monday morning blues, let yourself begin the day inspired. This simple tweak will cultivate positive energy and gratitude the rest of your day and your life.

    Self-Love

    Last on the list and unfortunately many times in life is making time for self-love. It is necessary to put yourself first and incorporate a bit of selfishness into your every day life. Self-love can come in any form, from putting together a killer outfit that makes you feel invincible to making life-long dream a reality. As long as you are doing it all for yourself. As Buddha once said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

    It’s no secret loving yourself is much easier said than done. Start off by finding simple ways to love and care for yourself. You can make little changes like giving yourself a full eight hours of rest a night or planning a spa day once a month. Then begin eliminating time wasted watching TV or using the internet and spend quality time getting to know yourself by reading a book. Most importantly live intentionally and with a purpose by becoming mindful in all facets of life. 


    About the Author

    Claire Grieve is a highly sought after international Yoga specialist, Stretch therapist, Health Coach and Wellness Writer. Claire’s mission is to inspire individuals to reach beyond the ordinary and step outside the comfort zone. She is determined to empower her students from all walks of life to push past their boundaries, reach their goals and live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Yoga serves as her medium to aid others in transcending those boundaries of the mind and body. Claire strongly believes yoga can be self-gratifying, enjoyable, and accessible to everyone.
    Connect with Claire on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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    6 YOGA POSES FOR RADIANT SKIN

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    6 YOGA POSES FOR RADIANT SKIN

    The following is a guest blog post from internationally known yoga specialist, Claire Grieve.

    Have you ever noticed yogis blissfully walking out off class beaming with self-confidence or as I like to call it “that radiant yoga glow”?

    We all want beautiful, soft, youthful skin. Sure, potions and lotions help, but real beauty lies beyond man-made products. Gorgeous skin begins internally. And let’s face it, who doesn't want to feel beautiful from the inside out?

    A daily yoga practice can drastically influence and rejuvenate your skin. The physical, mental and emotional balance from yoga works similarly to a regular skincare routine, but better. It will naturally enhance your skin, creating a radiant glow.

    Yoga works in various ways to revamp the quality of your skin. It flushes out and eliminates toxins from the body, regulates the digestive system and maintains proper blood circulation through poses and breath work. Many yoga postures rejuvenate and revitalize the body which in turn firm and tighten the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines. 

    Mindful movements and meditation help to relax the body and reduce stress. Not surprisingly, stress is a huge contributing factor in our skin’s tired and dull aesthetic. Relaxing yin yoga postures also promote restful sleep, lower cortisol levels and boosting collagen bringing back our natural shine and luster.

    What’s not to love?

    Include these 6 yoga poses to your daily beauty routine to transform your skin, detoxify, increase circulation and reduce stress. 

    1. Forward Fold – Uttanasana

    Forward folds increase oxygen and blood flow to the face. This encourages skin cell renewal and fights free radicals. It keeps your skin looking youthful with a natural glow!

    Stand in mountain pose with both feet planted firmly on the ground, hands on your hips. Exhale and slowly fold forward from your hip joints, lengthening the front of your torso. Bend your elbows and hold onto each elbow with opposite hand. Feel free to lightly sway from side-to-side. Hold for 1 minute.

    2.  Camel Pose – Ustrasana

    This pose is a strong back bend that opens the rib cage to increase oxygen flow to the body. It is a key pose for reducing stress and balancing out hormones naturally. It helps to reduce acne and blemish outbreaks.

    Begin with your knees on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Tuck your toes under and align your hips over your knees. Rest your hands on the back of your pelvis with your fingers facing down, lengthening the tailbone. Lean and reach back holding onto each heel. Lift through the pelvis, keeping your spine long and turn your arms outwards. Keep your head neutral so you don't strain your neck. Hold for 30 seconds.

    3. Twisted Seated Pose – Ardha Matsyendrasana

    This twisted pose improves digestive health. However, the secret is not so twisted, it’s very straightforward. It aids the detoxification process by ensuring removal of toxins and waste from the body for healthy gleaming skin. 

    Start off in a seated pose; legs extended forward, torso tucked, spine long, and shoulder blades drawn towards each other. Then lift and bend the right leg over the left, right foot should be planted flat next to the left thigh. Turn your torso to the right; use your left arm to lightly grasp your right knee. Keep the left arm pressed down firmly behind you.

    4. Supported Shoulder Stand – Salamba Sarvangasana

    This pose enhances facial radiance by promoting blood circulation toward your face. This helps to reduce fine lines, acne, and blemishes for naturally clearer skin. Perfect for sporting the makeup-free look!

    Lie down on your back, completely flat. Then bend your knees and lift your legs off the ground. Place your arms behind your torso, keep them bent and on the ground for support. Then elongate your legs, and let your toes reach for the stars. Make sure you do not overexert yourself and apply too much pressure on your neck, keep it comfortable.

    5. Plow Pose – Halasana

    This pose works seamlessly towards the end of your routine. It focuses on calming the brain, nerves, and heart while pressurizing the abdomen to relieve digestive organs. It results in maximized beauty rest, improved detoxification, and thankful skin.

    Lay down flat on the ground with arms extended parallel to your sides. Keep palms pressed against ground. Then slowly lift your legs and torso upwards using the support of your shoulders, back, and arms. Your toes should ultimately lie just above your head.

    6. Corpse Pose – Savasana

    Don’t let the morbid name mislead you. This pose will give your skin nothing but life. It may be physically unchallenging but it challenges the mind to enter a state of complete relaxation while your skin reaps the benefits. It’s a huge stress reducer and a great method of meditation. 

    Lie down flat on your back with your feet spread. Place your arms by your side, palms facing upwards. Relax your shoulders away from your ears, creating space for your neck. 

    By incorporating these 6 yoga poses into your daily self-care, you’ll not only improve the look of your skin, you’ll also strengthen muscles and relax the mind. It’s a win-win-win!

    About the Author

    Claire Grieve is a highly sought after international Yoga specialist, Stretch therapist, Health Coach and Wellness Writer. Claire’s mission is to inspire individuals to reach beyond the ordinary and step outside the comfort zone. She is determined to empower her students from all walks of life to push past their boundaries, reach their goals and live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Yoga serves as her medium to aid others in transcending those boundaries of the mind and body. Claire strongly believes yoga can be self-gratifying, enjoyable, and accessible to everyone.
    Connect with Claire on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

    All yoga pose photos by Sarah Orbanic, activewear by Varley

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    Transform Your Practice—And Relieve Back Pain

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    Transform Your Practice—And Relieve Back Pain

    Sure, a grippy mat and comfortable, fashionable tights are nonnegotiables when you walk into a yoga studio, but you might not realise that one unique tool could take your practice to the next level. We’re talking about the Dharma Yoga Wheel.

    This revolutionary yoga wheel is specifically designed to match the contour of the spine to help stretch and release tension and muscular tightness in the back, chest, shoulders, abdomen and hip flexors. It can make backbends more accessible to beginners, and can even help advanced yogis deepen their pose or loosen up muscle stiffness.

    “I’ve been trialling the Dharma Wheel for a few weeks now, and I’m seriously impressed. Not only is it a great tool for opening up my back safely and comfortably, but it’s improved my core strength as well. I normally roll over the top or it or if I want to amp up my practice I’ll even balance on it in a yoga pose,” says Bianca Cheah.

    So, if you want to improve your flexibility, release tension, stretch safely or take your practice to the next (challenging!) level, this super cool yoga prop could be for you.

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    5 Yoga Moves To Whittle Your Waistline And Tone Your Core

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    5 Yoga Moves To Whittle Your Waistline And Tone Your Core

    “Our core is the powerhouse and driving force behind the strength our body needs to function and move throughout the day. A strong core not only helps to prevent injuries, and reduce back pain, it also protects our most important internal organs,” explained Claire Grieve, celebrity yoga instructor and our go-to ab guru. Grieves taught us five yoga-based ab exercises that engage the abdominal muscles and strengthen the core to improve your posture and protect your back. 

    Bonus? Do these exercises a few times a week and you’ll see noticeable changes in your waistline and ab definition. You ready?

    Tabletop

    According to Grieve, “Practicing tabletop regularly will work your core muscles and boost overall strength. This pose can also strengthen your upper back, lower back, and neck.” This exercise looks simple, but it challenges your balance and proprioception. 

    1. Start on your hands and knees. Place your hands under your shoulders, with your knees directly under your hips. Keep your spine straight and your abdominal muscles tucked in without arching your back.
    2. Lengthen the left leg back and right arm forward simultaneously while maintaining a neutral spine. Your leg is lifted to the hip’s height and arm is lifted to the shoulder level. 
    3. Hold this position for 3 inhales and exhales before coming back to the starting position. Repeat with the right left and left arm.
    4. Repeat this exercise for about 5 times more on both sides.

    One-Legged Chaturanga Dandasana

    Good ol’ chaturanga—it’s a traditional transitional pose in a Vinyasa yoga flow, but it also happens to be killer core and arm exercise. 

    1. Begin in your plank position: Pull the core into the spine, look forward, press your palms and knuckles into the ground, while engaging the back muscles to support the spine. Tuck the tailbone and flex the back toes.
    2. Exhale rolling your body forward more onto your tippy toes.
    3. Lower halfway down, keeping your elbows tucked into your sides and one leg lifted.
    4. Hold for a moment and inhale.
    5. Exhale and press back up into starting position and repeat with the other leg.
    6. Repeat with both legs 10 times.

    Plank Knee-to-Elbow Variations

    “Plank pose is one of the most effective exercises as it not only strengthens the core but also strengthens the wrists, shoulders, chest, buttock, spinal muscles, triceps and neck.” Adding different, challenging variations to plank by throwing off the balance helps to target and engage specific core muscles, like the obliques. 

    1. Begin into a push-up position on your hands and toes; lengthen all the way from the crown of your head to your heels. Keep your core pulled into your spine, back is flat.
    2. Inhale. Lift your right foot off of the ground bend your knee in, engage the core, and draw it toward your right elbow. Connect the knee and elbow hold.
    3. Exhale, extend your right leg back to starting position.
    4. Inhale, lift your right foot off of the ground, take your knee to your left elbow allowing for the core to twist. Connect and hold.
    5. Exhale, extend your right leg back to starting position. Repeat with the left leg.
    6. Repeat 10 times.

    Scissor Legs Reach Pose

    Want to get that coveted ab-line down the center of your core? Put Scissor Leg Reach pose on your shortlist. “This pose is a sure way to set your upper abdominals on fire!” This pose is also great for stretching the hamstrings and thigh muscles.

    1. Start by laying on your back with your arms by your side. Raise your legs up to a 90-degree angle.  
    2. Pulling your stomach into your spine, inhale and lower your right leg down halfway and hover.
    3. As you exhale, lift your torso towards your right leg, reaching your arms past your leg until your fingertips touch behind your hamstrings. Hold for a full breath.
    4. Exhale as you lower back to starting position. Repeat on the other side. 
    5. Repeat 10 times with each leg.

    High-Low Boat Pose (Navasana)

    “Boat Pose strengthens the core, builds balance and is great for your posture. It stretches the hamstrings and hip flexors. Other health benefits include stimulating digestion, thyroid function, kidneys, and intestines.”

    1. Sit on your butt with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground. Extend your arms reaching your hands forward toward your legs.
    2. Inhale as you lean back while engaging your core. Extend arms straight out past your knees.
    3. Raise your feet and slowly start straightening your legs, bringing your body into a V-shape.
    4. With an exhale and control, start to lower your upper body and lower body simultaneously until you are a few inches above with ground with your upper back and feet.
    5. Inhale and with control, keeping your stomach pulled into your spine, raise your upper body and lower body.
    6. Repeat 10 times or more

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    5 Personal Trainers Reveal The Workout Supplements They Take

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    5 Personal Trainers Reveal The Workout Supplements They Take

    Have you ever been into a supplements store? Talk about feeling out of place. From the jacked-up man behind the counter to the rows of ‘OxyShred,’ it’s not surprising most people find it daunting. But when it comes to supplements, it’s important you know what you’re taking. So if you’re new to the gym or you’ve just never ventured into the world of supplementation, this may be a good place to start.

    First off, supplements are just that: supplementation. While we aim to get all our nutritional needs from food, sometimes we might be lacking and this is where supplements can come in. Although we may not need supplements, they can certainly help us to perform at our best.

    “Many women underestimate the benefits of supplementation on optimising overall health and wellness. From boosting energy and improving weight loss to preventing disease, supplements can help us target and allow our bodies to work efficiently and effectively,” says Holly Vogt, pharmacist, PT and expert for Body Science.

    Before you start, it might be a good idea to get tested. Finding out what you’re deficient in will help you tailor your needs. That being said, the best gauge of your health is always yourself. Find it hard to bounce back after a tough workout? Try magnesium. Switched to a vegan diet? Protein powder could help.

    As with anything, before you start it’s important to consult the experts so we turned to five personal trainers to find out what supplements they take to fuel their workouts and aid their recovery.

     

     

     

    Protein

    I am super pro-protein! My preference and what works best for my body is whey protein isolate. Performance wise, whey isolates have the highest percentage of pure protein and can be absorbed very quickly into the body so this is a great choice to support your training. Plus, for those that are lactose intolerant, whey isolate can be so pure that it can virtually be lactose-free.

    Finding the perfect protein powder has been an ongoing search for me. I’m very conscious of what I put in my body and am always reading ingredients labels. You would be horrified by how often you are consuming added ingredients and proprietary blends – that have no purpose being in your protein – that manufacturers use to cut down on cost. Or worse, many companies don’t even have to fully disclose the true nutritional value and ingredients of their products including the actual amount of protein per serving. Thanks to websites such as LabDoor, we now have access to more information and can get a bit more transparency around the true quality of protein and many other supplements.

    After years of trying countless protein brands, I’ve finally admitted defeat on my search for the perfect protein that is both nutritionally sound, honest, pure and reliable, but also tastes good and represents a lifestyle I want to be part of… so I’ve made my own. This is something I am incredibly passionate about and cannot wait to share with other like-minded people. You can RSVP now for the release here.

    Dosage: half a scoop pre-workout mixed with 125mL water and 1 full scoop post-workout mixed with 250mL water

    Magnesium

    Another supplement that has been a game changer for me is magnesium.I used to suffer from really bad muscle cramps until I started taking a very high-quality magnesium. Magnesium is an excellent supplement to help speed up your muscle recovery and to help you wind down at the end of the day. My personal favourite is UberMag Px by Poliquin Group.

    Dosage: 4 capsules at night: 2 when I first get home at the end of the day and 2 before bed.

    Fish Oil & L-Theanine

    At the moment I’ve been spending more time learning about cognitive health and nootropics – this is an area that fascinates me. I take fish oil each day and most days have a capsule of L-Theanine in the morning when I’m drinking my coffee – it helps me to really zone in on what I’m doing.

    Dosage: 1 fish oil capsule in the morning with breakfast and one L-Theanine capsule mid-morning with coffee.

    2. Kate Kendall – Flow Athletic

     

     

    Superfoods Powders

    I love the Blackmores Superfood range. CacaoCoconut Water, and Matcha Green Tea + Nature Boost are my favourites. I have a scoop of each in the morning as they’re perfect for powering up my smoothies.

    Dosage: 1 scoop of each with my morning smoothie

    Multivitamin

    I have one Blackmores Exercise Multi when I get to work every day.

    Dosage: 1 capsule every day

    Magnesium

    I use the Blackmores Muscle Magnesium. I take one scoop at night before bed to induce a restful sleep and ease my active body.

    Dosage: 1 scoop before bed

    3. Claire Grieve

     

     

    Probiotic

    I take a high-quality probiotic every day to help promote a healthy digestive and immune system. Gut bacteria affects our overall physical and mental health so it’s important to keep it balanced. I take Nutrikon GI Flora Plus. It’s a 60 billion blend of 50/50 Lactobacillus Acidophilus/Bifidobacterium Lactis.

    Dosage: 1 capsule every day

    Magnesium

    Magnesium is an essential mineral for staying healthy. It assists in regulating everything including blood sugar, blood pressure, muscle and nerve function, fatigue, detoxification, and moods swings. I take Nutrikon Magnesium Glycinate. It is a chelated form of magnesium that is not as strong and is easily absorbed by the body.

    Dosage: 400mgs of Magnesium Glycinate every day

    Protein

    As I follow a vegan diet, I need to supplement my protein intake. I add vegan plant protein to my daily smoothies. It can be used after workouts to enhance the recovery process and also contains a high percentage of amino acids. This also helps to boost the immune system and increase the production of glutathione, a natural antioxidant. Raw protein is absorbed quickly into the intestines promoting rapid recovery, healing and maintaining muscle mass. There are many vegan options including pea, hemp, and brown rice.

    Dosage: 1 scoop Sun Warrior Organic Vanilla protein with my daily smoothie or after a workout

    Rhodiola Rosea

    Rhodiola Rosea is a herb with amazing benefits. It’s fat burning, energy enhancing and brain boosting. It’s an adaptogen plant which helps your body adapt to physical, chemical and environmental stressors. I take of Gaia – Rhodiola Rosea at night to help de-stress and promote restful sleep.

    Dosage: 120mgs at night

    L-Theanine

    L-Theanine is another great amino acid supplement that I use to promote relaxation, reduce stress and improve sleep naturally. It also promotes concentration for mental tasks, which we like to call mental calmness.

    Dosage: 1 capsule of Jarrow Theanine 100 every day

    PhosphatidylSerine

    PhosphatidylSerine is a brain nutrient. It helps to energise the brain and improve short term memory, mood, focus and co-ordination. It nourishes the brain cells and reduces stress. I take this at night or if I have an important project to focus on.

    Dosage: 1 capsule of Jarrow PS 100 at night

    Digestive Enzymes

    Papaya digestive enzymes are great for anyone who has difficulty absorbing nutrients from food, or suffer from intolerances like dairy. Papaya breaks down food in the stomach reducing heartburn, acid reflux, bloating and other GI issues. I take it at the beginning of a big meal.

    Dosage: 1 capsule before a big meal

    Vitamin D & K

    Even though we are in the sunshine every day, most people are deficient in Vitamin D. I take a high dose of Vitamin D and Vitamin K supplements once a week. They work together to maintain healthy bones, immune system and prevent against multiple inflammatory diseases in the body.

    Dosage: once a week

    Fish Oil:

    High-quality Omega 3 Fish Oil is an essential supplement that supports overall health including cholesterol, eyes, cardiovascular and joint health to name a few.

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    The Butt-Sculpting Exercises Fitness Pros Swear By

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    The Butt-Sculpting Exercises Fitness Pros Swear By

    As temperatures continue to fall, our initial instinct is to dig into our winter wardrobes for skinny jeans and tights, both of which put our derrière on full display. But if like us, you’ve spent a bit too much time sitting on your tush over the past few months, there’s no need to worry. We asked top fitness influencers to share their go-to butt-sculpting moves. They’re easy, effective and best of all, most of them can be done from the comfort of your own home.

    1 Kate Kendall, Co-Founder & Director of Yoga, Flow Athletic

    Exercise: Lunging Twists

    “Essentially I carry one 6kg weight with both hands, lunge, then twist to the side. I repeat this on both sides, whilst pacing the distance of our strength room (call it 8 metres). It’s great for butt, spine and back mobility. And, it BURNS!”

    Click here to see a demonstration.

    2 Lauren Hannaford, Former Elite Gymnast & Founder of FHIT

    Exercise: Squat Jumps

    “Not only do squat jumps improve your strength and plyometrics, they also create great muscle tone and definitely get your heart rate going which increases your cardio fitness as well. It’s definitely a well-rounded butt exercise.”

    Click here to see a demonstration.

    3 Claire Grieve, Celebrity Yoga Specialist

    Exercise: Warrior III

    “Yoga is a great workout for lifting, shaping, tightening and toning the butt. Warrior III is my favourite full-body butt burning pose that requires balance, core strength and most of the booty to hold and maintain proper alignment. Engaging the outer hip muscles of the standing leg, gluteus medium and minimum, and the strong gluteal and hamstring muscle of the lifting leg will give you an all round yoga butt!

    Cues:

    Stand with your feet together. Inhale arms over your head.

    Exhale and hinge at the hips, lifting the right leg behind you. Keep your hips square, back flat and body in a straight line.

    Hold for 10 deep breaths.

    Repeat with the left leg lifted.”

    4 Kim Beach, PT & Creator of the Kim Beach 8 Week Programs

    Exercise: Lunges

    “It takes a bit of technique to get lunges right, but it is well worth it. This exercise gives your butt an awesome shape and also helps strengthen and tone your legs. It uses the largest muscle group in your body so it can be quite taxing on your heart rate which benefits your overall fitness and adds a little more intensity to your session.”

     

    5 Tegan Haining, PT & Founder of the 7 Day Quickie

    Exercise: Deadlifts

    “I hurt my back many years ago and since then deadlifts have played a huge role in keeping me strong and out of pain. They work your glutes tremendously but also trim your waistline by working your abs and back, making them an excellent compound exercise. When I don’t do them for more than a week my butt definitely feels flatter in the shower! So, I try and make sure I do them once a week to keep the curve.”

    6 Ben Lucas, Co-Founder of Flow Athletic

    Exercise: Split Squat and Glute Bridge

    “These are both great exercises for your glutes and your balance.

    For a split squat, place one foot a few feet behind you on a bench or a raised platform. Keeping an upright torso, begin by pushing your hips back, and allow your back leg to bend at the knee. Descend until you reach the bottom position, which can be when your front leg reaches parallel, or when your back knee touches the ground. Exhale and push through your front foot, pushing your body straight back up and return to start position. I recommend 3 sets of 12 reps each leg, with 60 sec rest in between sets.

    For a glute bridge, lie on your back and place your feet bent in front of you so they are directly under your knees, that way when you fully extend into the lift, your knees make a 90-degree angle with the ground. Your neck should always remain neutral. Place your hands on top of your hips. Squeeze your glutes as you push your hips to the sky. The end point of the movement is where your hips and knees are in a line. Inhale as you lower your hips back to start position. Try 4 sets of 20 reps, with 60 sec rest in between sets.”

    7 Renee Scott, Ballerina & Founder of Barre Attack

    Exercise: Arabesque Toe Taps

    “Want a beautiful booty? This single leg endurance exercise brings balance to your body, lifts your butt and sculpts the legs.

    Starting position: Standing on one leg, lean the upper body forward to 45 degrees and reach the back leg behind the body and in line with the hip. The back leg should be slightly turned out.

    Movement pattern: Reach the arms forward and lengthen the back leg, lifting it up to a long arabesque and tap the toes back to the floor at the back. Keep your standing leg parallel and your lifting leg turned out but try and keep hips stable.

    Ramp it up: Lift up and down in arabesque, but don’t let your toe touch the ground for extra glute work.”

    8 Kirsty Godso, Nike Master Trainer

    Exercise: Barbell Hip Thrusts

    “There is no escaping the burn in this exercise and I always notice a big difference in my power in other exercises when I’ve got this in my program. Don’t shy away from using quite a heavy weight for this and adding an isometric hold at the top on your last rep. The fire it lights in your glutes is crazy and the results even more so.”

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    Anti-Inflammatory: The New Way Of Eating That Might Actually Be Worth Following

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    Anti-Inflammatory: The New Way Of Eating That Might Actually Be Worth Following

    Prepare to start seeing AI on the menu; anti-inflammatory eating is taking over the wellness world. 

    I’m sure you’ve heard, but we’re launching in Los Angeles. So our founder, Bianca Cheah recently went to do a site recce (read: eat her weight in soft serve and spend $28 on a smoothie, all in the name of “research”).

    On her return we got the lowdown on the latest trends sweeping the wellness scene and apparently there’s a new diet in town: ‘Anti-Inflammatory’.

    Followed by the likes of Gisele and Tom, anti-inflammatory eating is becoming popular among the mainstream public (aka non-models), and for good reason. Aside from being a healthy diet (prepare to say good bye to cakes and pastries), it is said to reduce inflammation in the body, which is believed to cause a number of health woes.

    “I’ve cut [these foods] out of my diet completely and noticed a huge difference. Especially with water retention too. Once you adopt this way of eating and feel your best it’s easy to stick to. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle,” says Claire Greive, fitness influencer, nutritionist and long-term AI eater.

    What is inflammation?

    Inflammation is the body’s natural and essential immune response. When we experience injury or infection, our body sends fighter cells to the area. This increases the blood flow, which in turn causes the redness, swelling and pain you associate with the word, ‘inflammation.’

    In other words, acute inflammation isn’t a bad thing. However, chronic or constant inflammation can be. When chronic inflammation occurs, the immune response is never ‘switched off’ so to speak, which can be dangerous.

    “The major risk with inflammation is that if it remains untreated it can lead to a worsened disease outcome, specific to the current or related disease. Chronic inflammation can also cause additional health issues and it often results in a reduced quality of life,” says Chloe McLeod, accredited dietician and author of Anti-Inflammatory Eating. 

    According to the Huffington Post, the constant production of immune cells can cause long-term damage. This may lead to cancer, heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s, among other health concerns.

    What causes inflammation?

    What triggers ongoing inflammation differs from person to person. However, prolonged infection, stress, unhealthy lifestyle habits and obesity are some common factors. The foods we choose to eat – or not eat – can also play a role.

    According to Vicky Vlachonis, osteopath and author of The Body Doesn’t Lie, “The foods we consume can have a significant impact on the body’s ability to heal itself.”

    When suffering from muscle and joint pain, she suggests avoiding acidic foods such as oranges, alcohol, and coffee and junk foods, which are high in sugar and wheat, as these can exacerbate the inflammation causing the pain.

    While foods can exaggerate inflammation, Mcleod says they may also help with reducing the risk of it developing, and its severity when it occurs.

    “Further research is beginning to show that inflammation starts in the gut, as a result of poor gut health. Improving the health of your digestive system is imperative when it comes to managing and preventing inflammation,” she says.

    So what should we be eating?

    The anti-inflammatory diet, while not a ‘diet’ per se, is most closely aligned with the Mediterranean diet. It recommends consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and omega 3 fatty acids. It suggests avoiding processed foods, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, dairy, and saturated and trans fats. Oh, and being liberal with spices like turmeric and ginger.

    At this stage, more research needs to be done to truly understand the relationship between inflammation and the diet. However, when looking at the list of recommended foods to avoid – and those to chow down on – it’s safe to say it would undoubtedly improve your health.

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    8 Inflammatory Foods You Might Want To Avoid

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    8 Inflammatory Foods You Might Want To Avoid

    If you're feeling tired, bloated or have skin concerns, these common culprits might be the problem. Chances are you eat them every day.

    Inflammation is raising alarm bells in the health world at the moment, and for good reason. Chronic inflammation is being increasingly linked to a myriad of health concerns.

    The foods we consume can play a major role in both preventing and exacerbating inflammation.

    “Research is beginning to show that inflammation starts in the gut, as a result of poor gut health. Improving the health of your digestive system is imperative when it comes to managing and preventing inflammation,” says Chloe McLeod, accredited dietician and author of Anti-Inflammatory Eating.

    While it is believed a Mediterranean-style diet can inhibit inflammation, there is a lot of contention surrounding which foods exacerbate it. In most cases, every individual is different and must listen to their own body. If you think something is giving you grief, try eliminating that food for two weeks, and then reintroduce it into your diet to see how you respond. While the foods that upset one person might not affect another, a few common culprits keep rearing their head.

    8 common inflammation-inducing foods

     When it comes to inflammation, gluten gets the giant foam finger.  Research  conducted by the Mucosal Biology Research Centre found that humans are unable to digest gliadin (the protein found in gluten), which can cause   intestinal permeability   whether you’re   coeliac or not.  This results in unwanted substances entering the bloodstream, triggering an immune response and causing chronic inflammation. Along with pasta, wheat and other grains, gluten is found in a number of sauces such as soy sauce and tomato sauce. It is also often hidden in cosmetics and   household products.     Possible swaps:  For grains and flour, try almond meal, buckwheat, quinoa,   teff,   arrowroot, coconut flour, tapioca and brown rice. For pizza, why not make your own cauliflower crust, and replace pasta with   zoodles   or these other   alternatives ?  For sauce, buy tamari and flavour with herbs and spices that have an anti-inflammatory response. Also, always read the label of ‘gluten-free’ products as many are filled with other unwanted additives.

    When it comes to inflammation, gluten gets the giant foam finger. Research conducted by the Mucosal Biology Research Centre found that humans are unable to digest gliadin (the protein found in gluten), which can cause intestinal permeability whether you’re coeliac or not.This results in unwanted substances entering the bloodstream, triggering an immune response and causing chronic inflammation. Along with pasta, wheat and other grains, gluten is found in a number of sauces such as soy sauce and tomato sauce. It is also often hidden in cosmetics and household products.

    Possible swaps: For grains and flour, try almond meal, buckwheat, quinoa, teff, arrowroot, coconut flour, tapioca and brown rice. For pizza, why not make your own cauliflower crust, and replace pasta with zoodles or these other alternatives? For sauce, buy tamari and flavour with herbs and spices that have an anti-inflammatory response. Also, always read the label of ‘gluten-free’ products as many are filled with other unwanted additives.

     “In 75 per cent of the population, the gene for digesting lactose slowly begins to switch off as they get older,” writes Guilia Enders, author of international bestselling novel,   Gut.   In fact, researchers think that being able to  digest milk as an adult is abnormal . As we grow up and no longer require our mother’s milk, dairy tends to sit less well. Many people may find they have a problem digesting it, which  could result in inflammation . However, there is not enough evidence to support this link. Many  studies  have even suggested dairy may be anti-inflammatory. In this case, it’s best to trial what works for you.    Possible swaps:  Try cashew cheese or goats cheese, as it is lower in lactose. Opt for nut milks (compare them   here  ) or try one of these   new milk alternatives.   Nutritionists suggest kefir and unsweetened yoghurt (if you can manage some lactose), and coconut yoghurt is popular. For ice cream, try   these.   For chocolate, try some of   these.

    “In 75 per cent of the population, the gene for digesting lactose slowly begins to switch off as they get older,” writes Guilia Enders, author of international bestselling novel, Gut. In fact, researchers think that being able to digest milk as an adult is abnormal. As we grow up and no longer require our mother’s milk, dairy tends to sit less well. Many people may find they have a problem digesting it, which could result in inflammation. However, there is not enough evidence to support this link. Many studies have even suggested dairy may be anti-inflammatory. In this case, it’s best to trial what works for you. 

    Possible swaps: Try cashew cheese or goats cheese, as it is lower in lactose. Opt for nut milks (compare them here) or try one of these new milk alternatives. Nutritionists suggest kefir and unsweetened yoghurt (if you can manage some lactose), and coconut yoghurt is popular. For ice cream, try these. For chocolate, try some of these.

     There is debate around the inflammatory effects of alcohol. In  moderate amounts , alcohol has been shown to produce an anti-inflammatory response. However, according to  Harvard Health , in excess it has the opposite effect. Alcohol is a neurotoxin. When consumed in large quantities, it can irritate the body and disrupt its regular functions. Since alcohol has little to   no nutritional content  , our body works on overdrive to remove it. Some nutritionists believe that if you suffer from   leaky gut   or are in a state of   chronic inflammation  , it is best to avoid alcohol since your body will focus on ridding itself of that extra shot of tequila instead of other unwanted substances.   Possible swaps:  Water…just kidding. Try to drink in moderation, choose   biodynamic wine   or try these   alcohol-free cocktails.

    There is debate around the inflammatory effects of alcohol. In moderate amounts, alcohol has been shown to produce an anti-inflammatory response. However, according to Harvard Health, in excess it has the opposite effect. Alcohol is a neurotoxin. When consumed in large quantities, it can irritate the body and disrupt its regular functions. Since alcohol has little to no nutritional content, our body works on overdrive to remove it. Some nutritionists believe that if you suffer from leaky gut or are in a state of chronic inflammation, it is best to avoid alcohol since your body will focus on ridding itself of that extra shot of tequila instead of other unwanted substances.

    Possible swaps: Water…just kidding. Try to drink in moderation, choose biodynamic wine or try these alcohol-free cocktails.

     The white devil is another substance that routinely gets the blame, and for good reason. Along with causing a myriad of diseases, sugar increases levels of inflammatory messengers called cytokines, reports  Harvard Health.  Sugar can come in many forms. Nutritionist,   Claire Grieve  , suggests steering clear of white or brown refined sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup and evaporated cane juice.   Choose instead:  brown rice syrup, fruit sweeteners, stevia, agave nectar, blackstrap molasses and other natural sweeteners. Never choose artificial ones.

    The white devil is another substance that routinely gets the blame, and for good reason. Along with causing a myriad of diseases, sugar increases levels of inflammatory messengers called cytokines, reports Harvard Health. Sugar can come in many forms. Nutritionist, Claire Grieve, suggests steering clear of white or brown refined sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup and evaporated cane juice.

    Choose instead: brown rice syrup, fruit sweeteners, stevia, agave nectar, blackstrap molasses and other natural sweeteners. Never choose artificial ones.

     Many refined grains such as white bread and pasta, have been devoid of fibre and vitamins, compared with whole grains which still have the bran and germ intact. Such grains have been  positively linked  to inflammatory markers. Refined carbohydrates also tend to break down into sugar in the body, which would further support this theory.   Possible Swaps:  Choose whole grains or previously listed gluten-free alternatives. “Eating whole-grain bread, brown rice, and other whole grains smooths out the after-meal rise in blood sugar and insulin, and dampens cytokine production,” reports  Harvard Health. 

    Many refined grains such as white bread and pasta, have been devoid of fibre and vitamins, compared with whole grains which still have the bran and germ intact. Such grains have been positively linked to inflammatory markers. Refined carbohydrates also tend to break down into sugar in the body, which would further support this theory.

    Possible Swaps: Choose whole grains or previously listed gluten-free alternatives. “Eating whole-grain bread, brown rice, and other whole grains smooths out the after-meal rise in blood sugar and insulin, and dampens cytokine production,” reports Harvard Health. 

     Although some trans fats occur naturally in food, the majority are manmade and difficult for the body to digest. Trans fat usually comes in the form of partially hydrogenated oils, which occurs when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to prolong shelf life.  Aside from raising bad cholesterol and lowering good cholesterol, diets high in trans fats have been linked to a number of health issues including  coronary artery disease  and diabetes.  Studies  have also shown that the intake of trans fatty acids has been positively associated with inflammatory markers. Look out for them in processed foods and always read the label. The main culprits include baked goods, snack foods, fried food, and margarine.   Possible swaps:  health-approved   snacks   with minimal ingredients, grass-fed organic butter, extra virgin olive oil (when cool), coconut oil or rice bran oil (for cooking)

    Although some trans fats occur naturally in food, the majority are manmade and difficult for the body to digest. Trans fat usually comes in the form of partially hydrogenated oils, which occurs when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to prolong shelf life.

    Aside from raising bad cholesterol and lowering good cholesterol, diets high in trans fats have been linked to a number of health issues including coronary artery disease and diabetes. Studies have also shown that the intake of trans fatty acids has been positively associated with inflammatory markers. Look out for them in processed foods and always read the label. The main culprits include baked goods, snack foods, fried food, and margarine.

    Possible swaps: health-approved snacks with minimal ingredients, grass-fed organic butter, extra virgin olive oil (when cool), coconut oil or rice bran oil (for cooking)

     An  imbalance  in our Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio can lead to inflammation in the body. Omega 3 is  anti-inflammatory  while Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory. Foods high in omega-6 include processed seed and vegetable oils – particularly sunflower, corn and soybean – eggs, soy, corn, and animals fed with corn or soy.    Possible swaps:  olive oil, coconut oil and grass-fed meats. It is also helpful to increase your intake of foods rich in omega-3 to reduce your levels of omega-6. Such foods include fatty fish – like   salmon   – avocado and chia seeds.

    An imbalance in our Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio can lead to inflammation in the body. Omega 3 is anti-inflammatory while Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory. Foods high in omega-6 include processed seed and vegetable oils – particularly sunflower, corn and soybean – eggs, soy, corn, and animals fed with corn or soy. 

    Possible swaps: olive oil, coconut oil and grass-fed meats. It is also helpful to increase your intake of foods rich in omega-3 to reduce your levels of omega-6. Such foods include fatty fish – like salmon – avocado and chia seeds.

     As well as potentially being   carcinogenic,   processed meats and animal fats are  positively associated  with inflammatory markers.  Research  done by the University of California revealed that saturated fats, which are naturally found in animal products, can trigger an immune response and cause inflammation. While some saturated fat is needed, it is advised that we eat it in moderation. Nutritionist,  Claire Grieve , suggests avoiding beef, pork, cold cuts, sausages and canned meats (other than water-packed fish).   Possible swaps:  chicken, turkey, wild game, lamb and fish.

    As well as potentially being carcinogenic, processed meats and animal fats are positively associated with inflammatory markers. Research done by the University of California revealed that saturated fats, which are naturally found in animal products, can trigger an immune response and cause inflammation. While some saturated fat is needed, it is advised that we eat it in moderation. Nutritionist, Claire Grieve, suggests avoiding beef, pork, cold cuts, sausages and canned meats (other than water-packed fish).

    Possible swaps: chicken, turkey, wild game, lamb and fish.

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