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health benefits

Posted on November 26, 2015

5 benefits of using saunas

health benefits

sauna benefits

Some people get totally put off when they hear the word sauna. They associate it with half or fully naked people sweating together in a dark confined space – sorry for the visual image!

I personally think that there is nothing more unwinding than laying in the sauna, particularly, after a tough gym session. Not only does it help relieve my muscles, but it also gives me time to relax, contemplate my workout achievements and reward myself.

However, the benefits of using a sauna go way beyond muscle relief and relaxation.  These are only part of the reason why I think people should use it more regularly. I’ve rounded up a list of some of the benefits that I have found from regular use of the sauna these past few weeks:

1, Relaxation

As I mentioned briefly, I like to use the sauna to reward myself after a strenuous workout. I find that sweating it out in hot air really does take my mind off any stress from the outside world. It helps my mind, body and soul (a touch of exaggeration) really get into relaxation mode!

2. Sounder sleep

This probably isn’t news to you, but it is much easier to fall asleep when our muscles are relaxed and free from any tension. The more relaxed your body is before and during sleep, the better quality of your sleep. I tend to use the sauna in the evening time because I find that the heat makes me sleepy!

sauna 3

3. Skin cleanse

There’s a reason why facial saunas were such a big hit back in the day. The heat of a sauna causes the pores to open so when you start sweating, it flushes out dirt, bacteria, oil and any other residue in the pores. After every use of the sauna my skin feels soft, moist and more youthful looking! It just gives you a natural glow!

4. Pain relief

I’m an absolute devil when it comes to doing post workout stretches. So much so, that it had started to take its toll on my knee joints. However, since I started using the sauna more regularly (and spending more time on my stretches) the pain has slowly started to subside. Generally, the heat of a sauna helps loosen muscles and to prevent soreness and ease achy joints! 

5. Bye bye calories

Since the heat from a sauna produces an effect that is similar to what happens when we exercise (increased heart rate), using the sauna can burn additional calories. Of course, sauna usage alone will not help you achieve your weight loss goals – only diet and exercise can do that. But because heart rate increases by a good amount, it can help the body burn calories better throughout the day!

sauna 2

Using the sauna is also said to help with detoxification in the body, building a stronger immune system and improving blood circulation. I have yet to experience these changes in my body, but my changes so far are enough for me to want to continue using it on a regular basis and encourage others to do the same!

Top tips for sauna use:

  • Newbies should start with five to ten minutes until a tolerance for heat is built.
  • Take a break if you feel dizzy or faint – very important!
  • Be sure to rehydrate during and after sauna usage.

If you suffer from extreme blood pressure or any other major health issues, then of course, consulting a doctor before sauna usage is a must. But if not, then sweat away! 🙂

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Posted on November 3, 2015

5 health shots that are good for your body

Health/ health benefits

drink up health shots

I always find that health shots are great for a quick pick-me- up. Being a non-coffee drinker and a complete energy drink foe, I have to find other ways to give myself an energy boost. Spirulina shots are usually my go-to, but recently I have been experimenting with a few others which are quite beneficial too.

Here are some shots you might want to try for either giving your body a little detox (hangover day), giving your immune system a boost (flu season) or simply because a shot of tequila on a Tuesday afternoon just doesn’t sound quite right……

1. Lemon, Ginger & Cayenne

When you mix a cleansing food (lemon) with a nausea relieving food (ginger) and an inflammatory reducing spice(cayenne), beautiful things happen! This trio is a classic juice shot that is thought to help give the metabolism an aul boost. The combination of these three ingredients makes for a rejuvenating shot that can help reduce inflammation and bloating too.

Directions: Mix the juice of ½ a lemon with an inch of fresh ginger. Add a dash of cayenne pepper and take as a shot.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

A shot of straight ACV is definitely the easiest option of the five – well, as far as making the shot goes anyways! ACV isn’t exactly the easiest thing to stomach, and I salute anyone who is able to take it without puckering. Regular shots of ACV help improve digestion, and it is also said to help improve the texture of the skin. If you’re only starting off, it’s a good idea to mix the ACV with water.

Directions: Mix half a shot glass of ACV with water and toss back. Don’t forget to breathe!

3. Beetroot

beet juice

I love my homemade beetroot juice so it really is no surprise that I had to throw it in with these other health shots. A shot of beet juice can help improve stamina, so it would make for a great pre-workout shot. Beets also have anti-inflammatory properties that help combat premature aging. Instead of making a single shot of beet, I would suggest making a full glass and taking it in shots as regularly as you need.

Directions: Find my homemade beet juice recipe here.

4. Matcha

Matcha is a concentrated form of green tea and as you probably already know, green tea is loaded with antioxidants that can give benefit the body in more ways than just one. However, when you drink green tea, you are only drinking an infusion which means a lot of the health benefits are reduced. When you consume matcha, you consume the full leaf, meaning you get the full benefits. It helps with blood sugar regulation, reducing blood pressure, and most importantly, anti-aging (I don’t sound beauty obsessed at all!)

Directions: Mix 120ml of water with 1 tsp on matcha power in a glass to dissolve the powder. Pour into two shot glasses. One for now, one for later 🙂

5. Spirulina

A lot of people automatically think of chicken, eggs and fish when it comes to protein, but spirulina is actually one of nature’s richest protein sources. It is a blue-green algae found in fresh waters that is a complete protein, meaning it has all the essential amino acids we need to live. It is a natural detoxifier that helps boost the immune system and promote healthy digestion. I usually take this once a week.

Directions: Mix ½ tsp of spirulina powder with water in a shot glass and knock it back!

As well as the many other benefits that can come from taking these shots, they will give you the buzz without a crash! So instead of going for an energy drink the next time you need a quick boost, why not try one of these? Your body will love you for it! 🙂

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Posted on April 22, 2015

7 reasons your ‘diet’ isn’t working

Diets/ fitness/ Health/ health benefits

moderation

There’s nothing more annoying than spending so much time in the gym, doing calorie counts at a restaurant, avoiding all your favourite snacks and still seeing no results. Despite all your efforts and ability to maintain will-power for so long, the number on the scale doesn’t seem to want to budge– mind-boggling, right?

Luckily, you don’t have to throw in the towel right away and you might even find it comforting to know that you probably aren’t the only ‘dieter’ who isn’t seeing the desired results.

In most cases, it could just be because you’ve picked up on a few small – and extremely common – habits that are preventing you from seeing the scale drop. All it takes is making a few smart lifestyle changes that will have you shedding weight sooner than you think.

dieting

Here are some of the reasons your ‘diet’ isn’t working:

#1: Calling it a ‘diet’ to begin with

I personally don’t like the word ‘diet’. To me, it implies starvation, limitation and robbing your body of what it needs to survive – ok, that’s a bit of a stretch, but you know what I’m getting at. I think it’s better to regard your weight loss goals as creating a lasting healthy lifestyle – this also promises a lot more consistency!

#2: Not knowing your eating personality

I recently wrote a piece about knowing your eating personality. Knowing whether you’re a socialiser, a binger or an emotional eater can bring you one step closer to seeing the the results you want because you will know how to go about on making your lifestyle changes.

#3: Going cold turkey

I’ve already touched on the idea that I associate the word diet with restriction and limitation. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that labelling certain foods as big no-no’s will only make you want them more. Remember, moderation is key!  If you focus on having more of what your body needs i.e fruits, vegetables and water, then you can treat yourself every now and again.

one meal doesn'tmake you skinny

#4: Trying to eat as little as you can

Don’t get me started on this one. Nothing hurts me more than hearing someone say ‘I’m starving, but I can’t eat past 8pm’ it drives me absolutely insane! Some people seem to forget that food is their body’s fuel. You need it to keep energised during the day. Eating within a healthy range of foods is not bad for you – even if it is after 8.30pm!

#5: Misreading the scale

When I first started at the gym I was 50kg, then after a couple of months, I went up to 52kg. Some people would freak out about this, but I knew that it was just all the muscle that I was gaining for working out! If the scale isn’t budging, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t losing inches. You could simply getting fitter and gaining lean muscle mass.

lean

#6:  Dieting but not exercising

If you want to see results, then you need to bare in mind that watching your diet and exercising go hand-in-hand. If you’re too embarrassed to go for a jog and don’t want to join any gym classes then there are a lot of YouTube videos that can help you achieve your weight-loss goals in the comfort of your own home- you have no excuse!

#7: Giving up too soon

Anyone can have a setback, but it takes someone with real determination to get back up and try all over again. I’m not going to lie, I have my moments when I give up completely and need a few weeks to get back on track. But when I do, I get enthusiastic about it all over again!  It all comes down to being realistic about what you can achieve in the time that you have. Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

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Posted on November 10, 2014

9 ways to eat healthy on a budget

fitness/ health benefits

eat clean

Since eating healthy can be a bit costly at times, a lot of people think it’s more trouble than it’s worth. However, healthy eating doesn’t always have to cost you so much money – especially when you shop smart.

With the right attitude and the a little bit of planning ahead, you can eat quite healthily at an affordable price. So before you decide to pay the chippy around the corner a little visit, think about how much more you can save if you follow these simple tips:

1. Write it down: Sound like a no brainer? Not to all! Decide on what you’ll need for the week ahead and write it down. When you’re shopping for food, stick to your list and don’t be tempted by all those products marketers keep at eye-level to catch your attention.

2. Meal plan: If you take anything from this article, take this: meal planning is key when it comes to staying on top of your healthy eating game. Cook in bulk, have your din dins and then freeze the rest. This way you can avoid ordering a takeout and just eat what you’ve already made.

 

meme jump

3. Look out for special offers: When there’s a special offer on, it’s a good idea to stock up and buy in bulk. You’ll be saving more money this way, and if you’re worried about your food going off, keep it in the freezer. Some foods have to be frozen in a special way, so be sure to research how to freeze certain types of foods.

4. Go to the market: You’d be surprised by how much cheaper fruit and vegetable are at the market. Dedicate one of your mornings to buying a load of fruit/veg at the market – your body will thank you for it!

5. Ignore the brands: If you’re on a tight budget then forget the fancy packaging and the overrated brands. Just because a brand is popular it doesn’t necessarily make it better. Focus on the content not the brand.

6. Shop seasonally: Fresh products that are in season are generally cheaper than non seasonal products. So if you can, try to shop seasonally.

fruit market

7. Shop around: I know grocery shopping isn’t as fun as shopping for shoes, handbags or clothes. But if you look around before you shop, you will find the best deals and maybe even come across reduced items.

8. Don’t forget coupons: I’m awfully bad at keeping coupons. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder how much more money I could have saved had I kept them all. Be sure to keep your coupons and collect your points, this can help you in more ways than just one.

9. Keep a diary: If you keep track of everything you eat on a daily basis it will help you stay on top of things. In just a few days you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come and it will be more motivate you to keep going.

Stay positive people! 🙂

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Posted on October 6, 2014

6 healthy substitutes for bread

health benefits/ Nutrition

bread

If there’s anything I can’t enough of, it’s bread. I have it for breakfast, at lunch, as part of my dinner and when I’m feeling peckish – I know, talk about a bread overdose!

Since I was able to get over my cheesecake addiction (not to mention, my constant need to have coffee in the mornings), I’m pretty sure I can get rid of – or at least control – my addiction to bread.

Everyone has their own reasons for not wanting to dip their hand into the bread basket. I for one, am a firm believer that a flat tummy is made in the kitchen and if you’re able to cut down on as many carbs as possible, you’re already half way to getting a nicely toned tum.

Here are some ways to substitute bread:

Lettuce leaves
A bit cray cray? Not at all! Using lettuce leaves as a replacement for bread is a good way to get in a healthy dose of nutrients. The best part about it is that one lettuce leaf has about 4 calories – which is next to nothing!

Whole wheat tortilla
Whole wheat tortillas are another great alternative to bread since you can pretty much wrap anything you want in them. When purchasing, be sure to get a packet that doesn’t include enriched flour. You want to go for the one that says whole wheat flour.

Cauliflower base
As unusual as it sounds, you can easily make a cauliflower base as a bread substitute. It only requires four ingredients. You can find the ingredients here.

Apples for bread
I used to find it pretty odd alright: peanut butter or cheese on an apple!? It seemed pretty strange to me at the start, but I got used to it after a while. Apples are generally filling and the added toppings make you feel fuller for a bit longer . Give it a try before you judge, it actually isn’t as bad as it sounds!

Rice cakes
Rice cakes are generally fat free and low in sugar and carbs. They’re a great alternative for bread, since the toppings you decide to put on them can either be sweet (like beetroot) or salty (like salmon). Some rice cakes have additives, so be sure to check the label beforehand!

Salad
Some people (myself included) find it impossible to live without bread. However, since the things you put ON bread are usually what makes it tastes so good, you could always just throw it into a bowl and make a salad out of it!

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