The Well Nurse

13 Jul

I have recently created another blog called ‘The Well Nurse’. Although I love writing about ‘Superfoods and Superyou’ I have decided to concentrate on setting up my health coaching business via The Well Nurse. I have been nursing for 8 years and know what it is like trying to stay healthy whilst doing shift work and working in a stressful environment. With this new site I hope to provide information and inspiration for nurses, shift workers and anyone else interested in health and wellbeing.

I have also started a Facebook group called The Well Nurse, and an Instagram account ‘thewellnurse’

Please follow and ‘like’ me and feel free to pass on this information to anyone you think will benefit.

Come over and check out my new post a decadent breakfast recipe for chocolate quinoa porridge!

http://thewellnurse.net/

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Oil Pulling

1 Jun

I’d heard a little about oil pulling and originally dismissed it as another fad or too ‘out there’. But then it kept coming up so I did a little research then thought I’d give it a go, and lo and hold for the past two and a half months I’ve been pulling every day 🙂 .

What on earth is it? It’s an ancient Ayurvedic method of detoxing to prevent and heal diseases. By swishing oil in your mouth it’s said to ‘pull’ out the toxins and bacteria that accumulate in your mouth. By ridding your body of these toxins you’re giving your immune system a better chance at fighting and preventing inflammation and disease.

How do you do it? You take a heaped teaspoon of cold pressed oil (I use coconut oil – go figure) and swish it around in your mouth first thing in the morning for 15-20mins, before you have anything to eat or drink. I know, I was like “20mins – aint nobody got time for that”, but you can do it in the shower or when preparing your breaky or fave green juice or whatever.

I personally get up an extra 20mins earlier and get back into bed and read or journal or meditate for 20mins whilst pulling. I find this super calming, I’ve heard somewhere that how you spend your first hour of the day paves the way for how you are going to spend the rest of your day, so I’m spending my morning in quiet reflection then my days are going smoother. A friend of mine with kids loves this quiet time for herself, especially not being able to talk to others first thing. So it’s some beneficial ‘me time’ or ‘self love’ time before starting my day.

This is mid pull trying not to laugh

Mid pull trying not to laugh

Spit don’t swallow– make sure you are sitting upright when you are pulling and don’t swallow during or after pulling as you’ll just be ingesting the toxins. Also, spit into the bin and not the sink as the oil will solidify and clog your sink. I take the oil when it’s still solid but you can heat it up so it is already liquid if this helps.

Why would you do it? Regular oil pulling has been shown to assist in the following health ailments:

  • Common diseases like allergies, headaches and colds
  • Respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis
  • Dental problems like gum disease, bad breath, infections of the mouth or yellow, discoloured teeth
  • Skin complaints like pimples, pigmentation, itching, rashes, eczema
  • Digestive issues including constipation
  • Arthritis and joint pains
  • Heart disease and blood pressure
  • Hormonal disturbances like irregular menstrual cycle, PMS symptoms
  • Lack of energy

What I’ve noticed- So two months in and I’ve definitely noticed less brain fog throughout my days. I’ve also noticed that I’m calmer. I feel more balanced, this could be due to less toxins floating around. I’m not craving sugar as much (happy dance). I’m sleeping better (whoop). Also my teeth are whiter – I’m still getting comments on my teeth and I haven’t used my chemical laden bleaching solution for months – double yippee.

Will I continue? – Yes for sure, I love this ritual so I’ll be spending my first waking moments pulling indefinitely! Agreed that it’s a little weird, I’ve got many an eye rolling ‘what next’ look from family and friends but I feel great so I’m sticking with it.

For more information head to http://www.oilpulling.org

Leave a comment if have any questions or would like to share a pulling story.

Sleep for a SuperYou

16 May

Sleep is so important for our health and wellbeing and vital for those trying to lose weight.  Just one night of disrupted sleep affects our mood and ability to think clearly, our blood sugar levels, our chances of getting sick or depressed and highly influences the ageing process. When we sleep millions of our cells rest and rejuvenate. We grow new brain cells, repair and rebuild lean muscle and our body produces more of a natural chemical called interleukin-1, which is responsible for organising the immune system. When we don’t produce enough interleukin-1, we become more susceptible to disease.

Ironically I’m writing this before a night shift, mine and I’d say the majority of nurses’ crappiest thing… I’m wondering if doing this work is making me crazy, fat, and a bitch, and turns out it is (oh dear).

091What is it that puts our bodies off balance if we don’t catch enough Z’s??

Sleep deprivation messes with the endocrine system, this disrupts the regulation of energy balance and levels of the hormones Leptin and Ghrelin.

These are hormones which act on the hypothalamus, a portion of your brain that regulates appetite and satiety.

Leptin is produced by the fat cells and is present in the blood stream. This hormone decreases hunger by letting the hypothalamus know that we have enough fat (therefore put the fork down).

Leptin could be one of the hormones responsible for putting weight back on after a diet as it will recognise that fat cells are low, therefore, increase appetite.

Ghrelin is secreted by the stomach and increases hunger. This hormone is regulated throughout the day and higher levels are released close to meal times.

Research by Schmin et al, (2008) showed a reduction of sleep to 4 hours for two nights in a row proved to decrease circulating levels of leptin and increased the levels of ghrelin AND increased hunger… So consequently, these imbalances of hormones cause an increase in appetite, and a decrease of that part of your brain that (quietly) perks up and says, ‘’no Kim you don’t need to shove those chips into your face, they don’t serve you, you’re actually full from the last binge of lollies at 1am but if you must…”

This explains why the minute we are overtired our willpower and healthy eating habits go out the window and we find that sticking to such habits become that much harder.

So what can we do about it?

  • Pretty simple, try and get your 8 hours sleep a night where possible. The best time for regulating circadian times is between 10pm and 6am. When it’s dark you are meant to sleep, so avoid excess light in your bedroom. Sleep in a pitch black room as artificial light will trick your pineal gland in the brain to decrease the production of melatonin. This goes for if you are trying to sleep during the day also, blackened out blinds can do wonders.
  • Try supplementing with magnesium. This important mineral plays a key role in the regulation of sleep. Research has shown that even a small magnesium deficiency can disrupt the nervous system and prevent the brain from settling down at night. Magnesium is especially important for muscle recovery if you are training or sweating excessively. Good natural sources include green leafy vegetables, apples, lemons, pumpkin seeds, and almonds.

For fellow night shifters out there or if in general you’ve had a rough nights sleep and need to push on through the day try:

  • Breathing exercises, take big SLOW diaphragmatic breaths by sticking your belling out on the inhale and drawing it in on the exhale. Try and count how long you can take to inhale and exhale. This will increase oxygen to your brain and keep you calm and focused. I do this every hour or when I remember. I definitely do it before heading to the ‘binge table’ and 9 times out of 10 it works to keep me the hell away.
  • Spending time outdoors: Try and break the ‘work-eat-sleep’ cycle by going for a walk or exercising outside. The mental and physical benefits from outdoor training are huge! Some of these great benefits include: increased energy, increased sense of wellbeing and calmness, a greater feeling of revitalisation and positive engagement, decreases in confusion, depression, tension, anger and depression (tree hugging optional).

Tree hugging optional -but get outdoors and exercise!

  • Maca powder: This nutritionally dense superfood helps regulate our hormones and could have a positive effect on Leptin and Ghrelin.  Maca stimulates and nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. These glands actually regulate the other glands, so when these are regulated they can bring balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian and testicular glands. Maca can also do wonders for energy levels as it contains high amounts of minerals, vitamins, enzymes and all of the essential amino acids. Maca root is rich in B-vitamins (the ‘energy’ vitamins) and has high levels of bioavailable calcium and magnesium –sweet! I put a generous teaspoon into my smoothies daily, or I add it to a teaspoon of tahini or nut butter which is bliss.

What do you find useful when ghrelin and leptin strike??

References:

Bowers, E, S. Living with insomnia: Get a good nights sleep. Natural sleep solutions.

Schmid, S, M., & Hallschmid, M., & Jauch-Chara, K., & Born, J., & Schultes, B. (2008). A single night of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger in normal-weight healthy men.  Journal of Sleep Research.

Smith, S. (2009). Insulin, Leptin, Ghrelin the 3 fat hormones. Articles Base. http://www.articlesbase.com/health-articles/insulin-leptin-ghrelin-the-3-fat-hormones-933564.html

Coon, J., T. (et. Al) (2011). Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic Review. Environmental Science Technology.

Cauliflower Risotto

28 Apr

Cauliflower Risotto

Ok so I may be slightly obsessed with cauliflower but this risotto tastes amazing and is a great alternative to rice for those limiting their carbs or grains. Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous family, therefore has powerful health benefits including detox support, antioxidant protection and anti-inflammatory benefits – rad.

What you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • 2-3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 Brown Onion
  • Organic Chicken Thigh Fillets
  • 1 head of Cauliflower Grated
  • 1L of Stock
  • Pumpkin
  • Rainbow Chard (or can substitute for spinach)
  • Goats Cheese (optional)
  • Salt, Pepper and Chilli to taste

Method:

  • Fry olive oil, garlic and onion in a deep pan until brown, add chicken and fry until cooked
  • Add grated raw cauliflower and stir until excess oil has been absorbed
  • Slowly add the stock, stirring gently until stock is absorbed before adding more. You might not need the full litre – avoid turning this dish into mash
  • Season with the chilli, salt and pepper and whatever herbs you have at hand
  • Add steamed pumpkin, raw chard and goats cheese
  • Fry on low heat until you’re happy with the consistency

Oh happy days…..

Self Love

9 Apr

Love and be lovedI attended a ‘self love and sisterhood’ seminar last week run by the lovely Jess Ainscough, Melissa Ambrosini, Tara Bliss and Amanda Rootsey and I was blown away by the energy of these inspiring women, who, after coming from adversity were able to turn their lives and health around for the better. They spoke about self love as a muscle that needs to be worked on every day. By making small changes you allow your self love muscle to grow and can create beautiful changes in your health, wellbeing and life.

What is self love? Self love is about fully accepting yourself. This doesn’t mean that you have to like everything that is going on in your life or every part of yourself but it does mean that you accept what IS. For me it’s about letting go and fully approving and loving myself, even the parts I wish to change. I’ve used these small changes to my thinking and actions in order to see great results.

1. Stop slating yourself: You know that voice in your head that puts you down? You wouldn’t talk to a friend like that so why talk yourself like that? It’s not easy to try to switch off this voice, which is the ego, as most likely it’s been running the show in your head for years now. Just be aware of the negative self talk and observe it. Observe all the silly things it says like ‘you’re too fat/skinny/pimply/shy or stupid’. When you witness your negative self talk you lessen its severity. You observe that these thoughts are not real and you are able to move on. Try writing down all the ways in which you scare yourself or talk down to yourself. Journal about why you scare yourself, what experiences and thoughts trigger it. Also describe the feelings that come over you when you are thinking like this and how does it affect your behaviours. Be patient, this takes time. But like growing your self love muscle, daily practice produces miraculous shifts in perception.

2. Use an affirmation: Next time you look in the mirror and subconsciously slate yourself, try replacing it with an affirmation like ‘I truly and deeply approve of myself’, ‘I am exactly where I need to be at this moment and ALL is WELL’. An affirmation is a positive statement you can say out loud or in your head that reflects how you wish to feel at this present moment. Louise Hay, the queen of affirmations, has many great books on the topic, find affirmations that sing to you and practice them daily. My favourites are:

‘I am happy, I am healthy, I am strong and I am lean’,
‘Every cell in my body radiates with love, joy and bliss’,
‘I am vibrantly healthy’,
‘I am independently healthy and wealthy, amazing things just keep happening to me’,
‘I am calm, I am balanced, I am serene’,
‘I love eating nutritious whole foods, processed sugary foods do not appeal to me’,
‘I CHOOSE to love myself today’,
‘I deeply love myself and am worthy of all great things’
Say your affirmation in present tense, and find your own set that really resonates with you. Say your affirmations regardless of any resistance that may come up for you. This resistance is the ‘as if’ or ‘yeh right’ voice that may pop up, tell that voice that it is not true and affirm your positive statements anyway. Remember that your thoughts inform your energy and your energy informs your experience. Therefore, CHOOSE thoughts that are nurturing, uplifting and supporting of yourself because you’re worth it.

3. Breathe: Sounds simple but all too often we don’t stop from our busy lives to take a deep breath. Diaphragmatic breathing helps to de stress and reduces cortisol (the fat storing hormone) and makes you feel calmer and more able to have a productive day. Breath slowly in whilst pushing your belly out, hold in for 2 seconds and slowly exhale while sucking your tummy in and pulling your shoulders down and back. This helps to centre yourself during the day, keeps you focused and balanced. During your exhale let go of any tension or fear that you might be holding. I use this at work when things get too much or I am flustered or pressed for time, I feel calmer and more able to do things without rushing and making a mistake.

Namaste

4. Meditate: Sitting in stillness for as little as 5 mins a day can have a massive impact on the way you view yourself. Sit or lie down quietly, using mantras like ‘I am love’, ‘I am balanced’, ‘peace’ or ‘om’. Allow thoughts to flow through you but try not to hold onto any thoughts. Meditation creates the space for us to quiet down and listen to ourselves, and we are all very wise, so any questions or challenging situations that may be happening for you that may block your road to self love try meditating over it, ask the question ‘what is it that I need to know? What is it that I need to learn here’ you might be surprised with the answer. Read my previous post on “how to meditate” here.

5. Listen to your body: If you don’t do well on dairy then don’t have it, simple. If gluten makes you bloated, sluggish or have tummy pains then don’t eat it. Our bodies are very smart machines so if something isn’t working for it, it will tell you. Listen for the signs and love yourself and your beautiful body enough to say no to things that do not serve you. Start to be aware of what gives you energy and what slows you down. It’s an act of self love when you begin and continue to use food as fuel for your body rather than using food to punish yourself or stuff your feelings.

6. Move your body: We were made to move. Daily. Find ways of exercising that you enjoy. I love weight training, all types of yoga and high intensity interval training. Challenge yourself with new and different training styles. Take care of your body as it’s the house you live in. Find a training buddy or a personal trainer for some motivation.

7. Know your boundaries: Learn to say no to things that do not serve you. Listen to what it truly is that you would like to do it and DO it. This has been massive for myself lately, I’ve been saying ‘no thanks’ to invitations out when I know I’d rather be catching up on sleep, study or exercising or doing whatever the hell I’d like to do. Setting your own boundaries is an act of self love as you are telling yourself that you are number one, that you no longer feel the need to please everyone by saying yes to everything.

These are a few suggestions that I find work for me. See if you can adopt some of these into your life and build up your self love muscle. Thinking well of yourself and making small changes to build your self love muscle is an act of kindness that will have an enormous effect on your wellbeing and life.

The thing is, once I allowed myself to truly love and approve of myself I allowed miracles to enter my life, things just got easier and I can honestly say that I am a happier person because of it. It’s still a daily practice for me though as I often criticise myself for silly things, but I’ve learnt to recognise that voice and although there are areas in my life that I would like to change I am OK with it and can accept what is.

“Events come and go, but the love you have for yourself is constant.” Louise Hay

Cauliflower Pizza Base

30 Mar

Cauliflower Pizza Base!

I’m really into Cauliflower at the moment, this versatile veg is great substituted for potatoes in mash, or grated to make rice, and can be eaten raw, roasted or steamed for a great addition to your salads.

Cauliflower is high in Vitamins C, B1 and B2 and is a great source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur.

Ingredients:

1/2 grated Cauliflower

1 cup coconut flower

Herbs of your choice (I used finely chopped rosemary and oregano)

3 eggs

Dash of olive oil

1 clove of minced garlic

What to do:

Mix all ingredients together, add more oil or coconut flower depending on the consistency.

Roll half the mixture into a ball and with a rolling pin roll out between two sheets of baking paper.

Place on oven or pizza tray and bake at 180 for about 15mins, I didn’t have a pizza tray(can you tell?) but for presentations sake one would be great.

Add your topping and bake again for 10mins.

For my topping I used roasted zucchini, sweet potato, anchovies, red capsicum, cherry tomatoes and kale – Bellissimo!!!

Try this for an energy boost

21 Mar

During those moments when you’re feeling not so ‘super’ or a bit zapped of energy it’s good to have a handful of stuff to do to make yourself feel like yourself again. For me it’s having a green smoothie, going to yoga or the gym, getting out in nature, rolling out on my foam roller or meditating. A new addition to the mix which I love is a ‘happy song’.

Joshua Rosenthal (Founder of Integrative Nutrition) mentioned the importance of a happy song to boost your mood a few weeks ago during a lecture on self-care. So I’ve been doing it daily and I must say how surprised I am at the change of my mood and energy! It’s great not only when I’m feeling flat but any time of the day to get a boost of energy :).

What’s a happy song?

Choose a song that makes you smile and have the INTENTION of boosting your mood and energy levels during and after the tune. This especially worked for me last week when I was on my way to another night shift after barely 4 hours sleep (groan).  So I had a choice to either keep feeling like shit and sorry for myself or I could try this little trick to zap me out of this mood… I pumped up ‘Miracle Mile’ by the Cold War Kids in the car and sang at the top of my lungs and danced as much as I could whilst sitting down (lots of shoulder shaking and bopping side to side)… And lo and behold it worked! I felt happier and lighter and didn’t dread the next 10hrs- whoop! This sure beats scoffing processed sugar, a coffee or (gasp) an energy drink!

Consciously choosing the intention of feeling better has a powerful effect of uplifting your mood. So give this a go, set yourself a happy song each day and dance and sing to it like nobody is watching.

Go ahead, loosen up a bit and let your happy song ‘feed’ you.

Dance