Why Morning Routines are good for you! And what to do that will set you up for an awesome day!

Sunrise Nambucca Heads

A few years ago I was volunteering on the East Coast of Australia and woke before the sun to go for a run and get this picture

As of January this year, I have been living in one place. This is a big thing because for over two years I was travelling a lot and although it didn’t bother me, there was a lot of lost time in travelling, but also packing/unpacking etc. So late nights to bed, early mornings, lost time, excuses for why I wasn’t getting stuff done, lack of routine because every week was different! So when I settled myself in one place I was determined to get into a routine.

The first morning I started this, I thought to myself, “I will wake up with the sun”. So we opened the blinds the night before so the sun could shine in when morning came. I seriously woke up, wide awake, at 5:15am. First light! No alarm. Just woke up. Thankfully that only happened once because 5:15am was too early. But getting up with the sun is important, more about that later.

I am still leaving the blinds open but I now only wake up between 6:30 and 7pm. A much nicer time. I would be happier if it was earlier, but that’s when my body has decided its ok, so that’s ok with me. I then get up, have a big drink of water (always beside my bed), use the bathroom, take my bush essences remedy, and then head into my study/meditation/yoga/piano room.

We’ve positioned our house so our bedroom, the study and the dining room/kitchen all face into the morning sun. So in the study the yoga mat is always rolled out and this is where I head to do my sun salutations, a few extra yoga poses if I decide, a headstand or two if I please, then the 5 Tibetan rites, which I promise to do a blog post on soon and link it here. I then sit down for some meditation. The time varies. 5 minutes is enough. 10 minutes is good. An hour is better. The busier your day, the more you should do. Seems counterproductive but there are SO many benefits to mediation it’s unbelievable.

Now it’s breakfast time! And then my day continues…

That’s my routine so far.

So now onto why it’s important to have a routine and what are some ways to make your morning amazing:

You get more done

Getting up a regular time, which normally invoves getting up earlier means that you get more done over the day. Going for a run or a walk first thing in the morning, means your exercise is done. That’s it for the day. And what an invigorating way to start the day.

Giving yourself even an extra 15 minutes means that either you’re not rushing and running out the door, or you can add in extra things like a bit of mediation, 15 minutes of reading a book with breakfast, watering the plants outside, enjoying your coffee without slurping it down. Basically stopping in the morning to smell the roses. You can even fold the washing if you want. That’s one less thing you don’t need to do when you get home at night. Put dinner in the slow cooker. The list is endless. Whatever you feel you don’t have time for at night.

Getting up with the sun

Before alarms, deadlines, late nights of TV, people use to get up with the sun. Stop when the sun goes down, start when it comes up. This is what our body clock is designed to do. And this is the way our body works best. Have you noticed that when you wake up naturally, you wake up fresher and happier? That not necessarily the extra sleep you may have had, but that your body woke when it was ready. Getting your body in tune with natural rhythms of the environment around (eg. The sun) is so beneficial for not just your energy levels, but your mood, wellbeing and so much more.

Most weather apps or website can give you sunrise and sunset times. Sunrise generally happens (in SA anyway) between 6am in summer and 7:30am in the winter.

Make your bed

Everyone loves getting into fresh sheets. Only part of the reason is they’re clean, the other part is made beds feel fresher, even without the sheets. Making your bed in the morning means that it feels fresher at night time. Almost like you’re in a hotel, because if you make your bed in the morning, so much has happened between times it’s like someone else did it for you. Maybe?

It’s good feng shui practice anyway. An unmade bed makes the room look cluttered and untidy and that’s not good for a restful nights sleep. Its also seen as closure. As upsetting as it is sometimes to have to get out of bed (hopefully using these tips rectifies that!) the making of your bed signifies sleeping time is over and it’s time to face the world and get on with your day.

A study found that making your bed improved your sleep by 19%*

*National Sleep Foundation, Sleep Poll, Jan. 25, 2011

Exercise and getting outside

Even if it’s just a walk around the block or going outside to water the plants. If you’re following the ‘get up with the sun’ protocol, this is the BEST time to be outside. It’s fresh, it’s cool, it’s quiet and it’s peaceful. Walking around the block, going for a run, or even just getting outside to say good morning to the sun, the fresh air will wake you up and get you going.

Meditation

Anecdotal evidence, as noticed be me, says that meditation in the morning improves concentration and energy. And I’m sure somewhere I could find a study to prove that. Taking even 5 minutes so focus on your breath and clear your head can make such a difference in the day.

When I lived in Adelaide I got up at 5:45am three mornings a week to do yoga. At the end we would lie down and do as much or as little meditation as we wanted. As the teacher always reminded us, this might be the last time you get to lay down today. That always motivated me to stay an extra 5 minutes. So, go! Sit down on a chair or cross your legs, or lay on the floor, focus on your breath for 5 minutes, it may be the last break you get all day!

Drink some water

The standard recommendation is 2 litres per day. I generally suggest 1 litre per 30kg of body weight, because a 100kg man needs more hydration than a 60kg woman. Starting the day with one glass (or two!) means you are one glass closer to your target. My drink bottle is 550mL. I carry that around while I go through my morning routine so by breakfast I’ve generally had ½ L already.

It is best to space your water through the day. Don’t drink your two litres in the morning and think you’re done for the day. Plus you’d have no room for breakfast. And spend the next three hours at the toilet.

Before breakfast another glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon is also amazing for your health. Just a quick google search of “warm lemon water in the morning” will give you dozens of reasons why this is a good idea, from clearer skin to liver cleansing. It’s also good for delaying your coffee (See blog post here) because many of us, particularly in winter crave warm drinks, mostly reaching for the coffee or a black tea. Drinking warm water and lemon satisfies that ‘warm drink’ craving and gives us an extra cup towards our water quota. As opposed to coffee that negates two cups of water due to the diuretic factor.

Other possible routine ideas:

Practice gratitude – before bed or in the morning, write down three things you’re thankful for.

Oil pulling – first thing, put one tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish for 20 minutes. You may need to work up to this amount of time. The oil ‘pulls’ all sorts of bacteria and yuckies (technical term) from between your teeth, giving you fresh breath, clean teeth and better health as the state of your mouth, gums and teeth is very closely linked with your overall health

Eat breakfast – as the saying goes, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” People who eat breakfast consume fewer calories over the day. Make sure it’s something with a bit of protein and fat, not just the carb-filled toast or cereal options we’ve been lead to believe are good for us!

Don’t reach for your phone – lying in bed on Facebook in the mornings is dangerous. Firstly it’s a time waster. Secondly social media has been found to be detrimental to our self-esteem. Thirdly, have you ever dropped your phone on your face while in bed? I have. More than once. It hurts. Don’t play with your mobile phone in bed. It’s dangerous. For your face and your time. Get up and get moving.

Look in the mirror – say good morning to yourself. Say I love you. Be thankful for the able body you have. Do this every day and your life will change.

What morning routines do you have? What works best for getting you up and moving in the morning? Have you tried any of these techniques?

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Fish Curry

Today is a little bit humid. It’s warm, warm enough for shorts and a singlet. But it rained a little while ago.

I’ve been craving coconut milk or cream. I wanted to have a coconut chia pudding for breakfast this morning, but didn’t get myself sorted early enough last night to make it. That recipe will come another day. So I satisfied my coconut cream/milk craving, while using left over fish from last nights dinner, and whipped up this simple fish curry.

I didn’t have all of the ingredients, but it turned out perfectly fine. And as I sit here with my empty bowl beside me, I feel like I could be in some tropical location. Most likely Bali, Malaysia or Thailand. Somewhere with humidity, coconuts and fish.

I will give you the recipe I used, as well as the other ingredients I didn’t have on hand.

Ingredients

  • 4 white fish fillets (I used Coorong Mullet, because that’s what we had)
  • 1 can coconut cream
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (I used a full teaspoon. Turmeric is SO good for you)
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp coconut oil for frying

Optional (ingredients I didn’t have)

  • 1 1/2 cups of fish stock
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass
  • Splash of fish sauce
  • Finely sliced spring onions

What to do:

  1. Heat coconut oil in pan
  2. Add crushed ginger and garlic, and sliced onion
  3. Once cooked through, add chilli and turmeric
  4. Pour in can of coconut cream and fish stock if you are using it. (As I didn’t have the fish stock, I used Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast with a little bit of water). Add stalks of lemon grass
  5. Bring to the boil and simmer until it has thickened
  6. Add fish fillets
  7. Stir until fish is cooked through
  8. Remove lemon grass and discard. Place fish on bed of rice
  9. If you have fish sauce and spring onions, add at this point, stir and then pour sauce over fish and bed of rice
  10. Serve with steamed greens or just on it’s own!

Sorry I didn’t get a before photo. I ate it too quick!

iPhone 5S 1374

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What does your body actually need to heal and achieve full health?

In a recent Institute for Integrative Nutrition module, we were asked the following question:

“Joshua explains that, given half a chance, the body will heal itself. Why do you think this is the case? Why is it more effective to let clients find their own way to their truth instead of being guided step-by-step? Have you experienced self-healing of any kind? Please share below!”

A big part of the chiropractic philosophy is that the body is a self-healing, self-regulating system. This is a significant point to understand if you want to achieve health. You have all the tools and capabilities RIGHT now to be healthy. So what’s stopping that?

Our body wants us to be well. Our body is designed to be well. It’s when it doesn’t have access to all the necessary tools such as rest, vitamins and healthy relationships (just to name a few!) that it breaks down.

For example, your body isn’t designed to get a cold. It’s designed to fight a cold. When you come into contact with bacteria, your body’s immune system kicks into action to find that bacteria, capture it, destroy it and remember it for next time. All before you have a chance to cough. So why sometimes does that cold or flu take hold? Why do we end up with symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, green phlegm and a cough? It’s because the body doesn’t have what it needs.

What does it need?

Well that depends on the person. In my case I need rest. The only time I get sick is when I’m working too much and not getting enough sleep. My body might feel tired for a few days or a few weeks beforehand, and if I don’t listen to these subtle cues, then it says, “Ok, you’re not listening. I’m going to force you to rest!” And BAM! My muscles ache, I have a headache, I literally can’t stay awake and I rest.

The truth is (confession time!) I don’t mind being sick. Two reasons: I get to rest. Yay! Who doesn’t love staying in bed all day? And two: It means my body is working. It’s fighting off and processing whatever it needs to process. I do support my body. It gets extra vitamins, sometimes some olive leaf extract, vitamin C, lots of ginger, lemon and honey water, a chiropractic adjustment, some NET, but most of all rest. Because I know that’s what was lacking for me to get myself into that position in the first place.

This isn’t just the case with colds and flus. We are not designed to get cancer. It’s not “luck of the draw”. Cancer cells proliferate when given the opportunity. Or when our body isn’t working too its full potential and misses something. Headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, joint pains, heart disease and more are all examples of things that can “go wrong” in our body.

What is the prescription for optimal health?

  • Nutritious food
  • Good relationships
  • Sunshine
  • Exercise
  • Laughter
  • Music
  • Rest and relaxation
  • And more!
  • Whatever it is that your body needs

When you ask yourself, “What does my body need in order to heal?” what answer do you find?

What can hinder this healing?

The truth is, some people don’t want to get better. Without their illness or complaint, subconsciously they believe there would be an emptiness, nothing to talk about, nothing to define them. Finding the cause of this is a big part of the healing process for some people. Particularly with chronic conditions.

Having an answer come from within is more powerful for healing than if the answer came from outside the body (someone telling you what to do). Letting my patients realise from within, but still guiding them and being part of that epiphanic (I think I made that word up) process, means the changes are going to be more permanent or if not permanent at least more effective.

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Recipe – Lemon Bliss Balls

Lemon Bliss Balls

I made these Lemon Bliss Balls to share with people at the first Riverland Health and Wellbeing Festival. Everybody LOVED them. Even those who looked hesitant when we told them there was no added sugar. No sugar doesn’t have to mean no taste!

These balls are perfect for mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks. You can swap almonds for sunflower, pumpkin or flax seeds for a nut-free version.

The ratios of ingredients are only rough estimates. When making these kind of things I stand in front of my thermomix with the pantry and fridge doors open and just add whatever I see. So feel free to alter the ratios to suit your taste.

Try this for starters…

  • 1 cup activated almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 7 medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • Rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • Dessicated coconut for rolling them in

Mix all ingredients (except coconut) in a high speed blender or Thermomix until well combined.

Roll into balls, and then roll in coconut.

Store them in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Product of the Month – October – Superfoods for Kidz

Do you have fussy kids?

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Is dinner time a struggle when it comes to vegetables? Do you worry your children aren’t getting enough nutrients?

Nutraorganics has a perfect product for you. Superfoodz for Kidz is a variety of flavoured powders that can be added to any meal to boost the nutritional benefit. We tested some of the flavours (Choc Berry Chunk, Vital Veggie and C Berry Blast) at the Health & Wellbeing Festival and found there’s something for each child’s taste. These fruit and veggie powders can be added to Bliss Balls, muesli bars, home-made ice creams, slices, smoothies and wherever else you can imagine.

The powders are freeze-dried superfoods. Superfoods are foods that have been found to have a higher nutritional content than other foods. They have lots of antioxidants, naturally occurring vitamins and minerals (rather than being artificially fortified), phytonutrients and bioflavonoids.

Superfoods for Kidz are available in the clinic for purchase or order online here.

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Superfoods for Kidz is made by Nutraorganics, an Australian-owned, Australian-based company on the Gold Coast. They source only the best quality ingredients and local ingredients if possible.

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Staying Healthy During the Crazy Christmas Season

Christmas is definitely the time that people go a little crazy. Lots of Christmas parties, so much to do so little time, school is ending, work is ending, planning holidays, worrying about where “Christmas” will be held this year, stress of family, it goes on and on. In stressful periods it’s often people’s diets that suffer first, despite a good diet being crucial for the body coping. Christmas is a particularly tough time for this too with all the get togethers with various yummy foods, more alcohol than normal and the need to let your hair down. So here are my top tips to stay at your best during the Christmas season.

  1. Drink water between drinks
    In normal circumstances you need one litre per 30 kilograms of body weight, or around 30mL per one kilo of body weight (depending who you ask). When you are drinking coffee you add two cups of water per one cup of coffee and when you are drinking alcohol it’s about the same. So adding a few glasses in between your drinks will make a real difference, not only the next morning but to your health overall. If drinking between drinks isn’t your thing, you can at least make sure you have had your water quota spaced out through the day before you pop that bottle.
  2. Eat more salad
    The more cooked a food is, the less nutrients or ‘life’ it has left in it. The more processed (packaged) a food is the less ‘life’ it has too. Health isn’t a matter of how many calories or how much food you’ve eaten. It’s the quality of what you’re eating. Salad is a good option for Christmas dinners due to our warmer Christmas weather. It’s healthier than oily roast vegetables and won’t leave you feeling fat, bloated and lethargic after your meal.
  3. Slow down
    Stop rushing through this Christmas time. Focus on what is important. And when it comes to that Christmas dinner, slow down too. Eating slowly means you will eat less. It also means you will enjoy your meal that little bit more. It gives your stomach time to produce acid and enzymes for digesting which will help avoid that bloated and full feeling
  4. Keep your body moving
    Now that we have avoided that full and bloated feeling you won’t be feeling like that afternoon nap you usually need after Christmas lunch. Jump up! Have a game of cricket, play with the kids or use their toys. Keep active and keep moving because it is proven that exercise gives you more energy.
  5. Express gratitude
    Taking time to be thankful does wonders for people’s mood. Be grateful for your family around you even if they’re a little crazy, at least they’re around. Be thankful for the food that is on your table and this may slow you down for even just a few seconds from gobbling it all up. It means that you can savour the experience and not rush through, because next thing you know it’s January…or February…and the fun is all over.
  6. Eat more protein
    Protein and fat (good fats) are the ideal fuel for our body. Too many carbohydrates cause our body’s to accumulate excess body fat and contribute to many health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and chronic pain. In the short term, carbohydrates give us an energy rush, not sustained energy which causes the body to crave more food, so we eat more often. This is your permission to gobble up that Christmas turkey, devour the roast lamb, hog the pork, tuck in to the beef, whatever you need to do to get more protein which will stop you from filling up on breads and other carbohydrate foods. Warning: This may cause a smaller dessert serving requirement.
  7. Fruit is a perfect dessert
    Although fruit does contain sugar it contains more nutrients and fibre along with the sweetness to finish off your meal. Swapping the trifle, pavlova or Christmas pudding for baked apples, berry sorbet or a variety of fresh fruit is a better option.
  8. Swap it
    1. Nuts instead of chips
      Putting a bowl of nuts on the table instead of potato chips provides a healthier option and with all the protein and good fats in nuts it might also limit Christmas lunch overload
    2. Butter instead of margarine
      Requires more time and space than I have here. Just know that butter is a real food, margarine is a chemical. Butter (if coming from grass fed, healthy sources) is good for you, margarine is not. Your body recognises the fat in butter and can put it to good use. Margarine is unrecognisable to the body and does lots of damage.
    3. Positive instead of negative
      See Christmas as a time for celebration whatever your beliefs. It is a time to spend with family. Time spent being grateful for what you have and for what has happened in the past year, then looking forward to the coming year. Try and see the positive in all that happens.
  9. Start on your new year’s resolutions
    If you ignore all my suggestions and still end up feeling fat, bloated and sorry after your Christmas dinner, this is the perfect time to start making resolutions if your health or weight is something you want to work on. And even if it’s not, now is the perfect time to start thinking, “What change do I want to make for 2014?” “What do I want more of?” or “What do I want less of?” Thinking about these things now gives you that little bit of extra time to think, plan and put into place your intentions for next year.
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