Sunday, 17 November 2019

Sunday Journaling Prompt #10

After a sickness break, I am back to you with a new journaling prompt, so grab your notebook and pen and journal on...


With social media and advertising telling us constantly to be someone else, this almost 2 centuries old Oscar Wilde's fantastic quote irreverently reminds us that it is impossible. How does it make you feel?

Happy Sunday journaling and self-exploring, my dear friendly souls...

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Sunday Journaling Prompt #9

Happy Sunday

We are back again with a new journaling prompt


Now that’s a tough question. Easy to answer, but in order to answer it truly, you really need to dig deep. What we’re missing the most, most often, is not something you can see or touch - and that’s where the question gets sensitive.

It’s all about sheer and brutal honesty towards yourself - no blinkers on, because that’s the very least you deserve.

X

Food - You Become What You Eat (Conclusion)

For the last few weeks, we have been exploring what food does to your body - good and bad - how our body assimilates food and how reliant on the food industry we have been for so many decades, dictating our state of health.

I believe that the main reason why people increasingly have food allergies and intolerances is because of the bad unhealthy diets we have been on for most of our lives. Our bodies, at some point, is saying NO to the added sugar, the chemicals and other sensitising types of food being a constant aggression to our system.

Even if I’m not particularly grateful for over a full year of bad belly and far too many toilet trips, I am however extremely grateful that, at a certain point, my body pushed the WARNING! DANGER button and opened my eyes to what I thought was a healthy diet.

When what you eat is a constant attack to your body, it will become sick. If your body becomes sick, out of the window goes your vitality, making you more sedentary and less active. Your body stores toxins, fat and you then truly become what you eat as the unhealthy foods literally take over your body, your energy and even your thinking process and confidence.

Don’t let the foods you eat dictate who you are. By choosing to eat truly healthy, you can save your life and actually become who you’ve always wanted to be...


Sunday, 27 October 2019

Sunday Journaling Prompt #8

Happy Sunday to you all.

After a laptop-free home break, I am back to the blog this Sunday for our next journaling prompt:


This question is often easy to answer for people around you, but not so easy for you.

Take a good honest look inside yourself and at your experiences and achievements in life (big and small), and you will find your answers.

YOU MATTER and you are UNIQUE.

Until next week...

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Gluten Free Flatbread Recipe


Eating healthy is very important for me. But, as a true food lover, there is no way I will ever compromise on delicious and tasty food.

As I am gluten sensitive, I have to be extra careful to what I eat and, while there are many products that have gluten free options, they are often more expensive.

Also I have been avoiding ready-made foods with added preservatives and sugar so homemade options are often much better for me. I am therefore always on the lookout for easy and quick gluten free no sugar recipes - don't really want to spend most of the very little free time I have cooking and baking.

This recipe for yummy gluten free flatbread only takes a few minutes to make and cook, and you can even freeze the extra flatbread pieces for later.


INGREDIENTS FOR BASIC RECIPE:


  • 2 measuring cups of gluten free self-raising flour (I used white flour but you can use brown if available) + extra for dusting
  • 1 measuring cup of full fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 sachet of yeast (7g)
  • 1/2 sachet of bicarbonate soda
  • vegetable oil
  • a griddle, pancake pan or large frying pan
For the flatbread pieces on the photo, I added 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 2 handfuls of grated mozzarella and an extra teaspoon of yogurt.

RECIPE (For about 10 flatbread pancakes/patties)

  • Mix the flour, yeast and bicarbonate of soda (and any other dry ingredients, if customising);
  • Add the yogurt and mix until you get a soft dough-like texture. You might get some crumbles (I did) and that's no big deal;
  • Very lightly oil your pan (I put some oil on a piece of kitchen towel and covered my pancake pan by rubbing on the oil) and put on medium heat;
  • In the meantime, grab a piece of the dough and create a patty by rolling the dough between your hands and creating a ball. Ensure you dust generously as the dough will be sticky otherwise. Dust a flat clean surface and flatten the ball gently and evenly with the palm of your hand to create a small pancake, ensuring it is dusted with flour on both sides - mine were about 3-5 mm thick;
  • When the pan/griddle is hot, place the flatbread pieces to cook. You only need to leave them for 1 minute or so each side, then flip each side again for a few seconds on a second round. Use a spatula to flip and remove the flatbread pieces to ensure you do not get burnt;
  • The flatbread patties can be left on a plate to cool down or eaten warm. 

If you are freezing some of the patties, let them cool down and separate each by placing a piece of baking/parchment paper in between to avoid them sticking together.
Once cold, the flatbread can be toasted in a regular toaster to eat warm at a later time.

They are easy to make and customisable. You can make them savoury (with cheese or any small savoury ingredients) or sweet (by adding honey/vanilla extract/dried fruits). If you do customise them, always ensure that whatever ingredients you add are leveled in the basic recipe. If you add dry ingredients (like I did with the cheese and turmeric), always add a little bit more yogurt. If you add any "wet" ingredients (eg. liquid vanilla extract, syrup or honey), make sure that you add more flour.

Whoever said that eating healthy had to be boring and bland?!

Bon appetit...

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Food - You Become What You Eat (Part 3)


Welcome back to this week's Part 3 of the Food - You Become What You Eat article.

Having perfect food would mean growing your own herbs, fruits, vegetables and grains, and breeding your own farm animals and fish for meat and milk.
This is the ideal situation where you create your own dairy products, butters, oils, sauces...

Unfortunately, for most of us, we have to rely on the food industry to provide us with the foods we eat.

For many decades, the food industry has dictated without any resistance (or at least very little) what foods we can choose for our families.
The introduction of free range and organic ranges have highlighted the fact that the foods we have been eating all these years might not have been that good for us - pesticides, hormones, steroids, antibiotics have been part of our food for so long, linked to that the increase in obesity, heart diseases and food allergies and intolerances - surely all this should have dumped a massive neon sign in front of our eyes and make us realise that the food industry has not had our best interest at heart and, more importantly, our health and well-being.

You are definitely proven right when you actually start looking at the ingredient list of items you usually purchase for yourself and your family.
It should give you the chills! Chemical additives, added salt, added sugar...

Added sugar and refined sugars (such as sweeteners, syrup, "flavouring"...) are one of the main culprits for the alarming number of obesity cases in the industrialised world today. To understand how unhealthy, and even dangerous, this is, let us have a look at what happens in our body when we ingest high amounts of sugar (at least a simplified version):

Insulin from the pancreas processes sugar and transforms it as energy to go into the bloodstream for the body to function. Unfortunately, the pancreas does not produce insulin on demand and in line with the amount of sugar consumed - let us not forget that all other foods are also turned into sugar to be processed as fuel for the body (carbs, protein, fats, fruits and vegetables) and, of course, healthy foods have nutrients that can benefit the body functions and so should be prioritised to fuel your body.

Therefore all excess sugar is turned into body fat, increasing body weight and pressure on the body's skeletal system as well as on our vital organs, arteries, respiratory airways and conduits.
Excess sugar in the bloodstream is also extra toxins that will create deposits, possibly clogging arteries.

Scientific studies conducted in the 20th century were pointing the finger repeatedly to foods high in fat, giving the general cultural acknowledgement that fat is bad for you and distracting you from the genuine dangers of sugar excess. What we couldn't have known as only members of the public until the very last few decades, is that these studies were commissioned by companies from the food industry. The food industry has been a lie, accepted by all for many generations, and ingrained deeply into our psyche. Why are sweets and cookies a treat given to children to reward them of their good behaviour or make them feel better after they fall and hurt themselves? That's something we'll discuss in another article - Now that commissioned scientific research studies have to reveal the company or organisation commissioning it, members of the public are realising how the past studies were highly biased, and companies have to be more forthcoming and honest about the research they are commissioning and revealing.

Sugar is an appetite booster. The more you eat, the more you will want to eat - and therefore the more you will buy. This, in time, will create a dependency and alter your taste buds so that anything without sugar - that could stop the vicious circle - will taste bland.

The truth about the "Fat is bad for you" myth is being uncovered while it is being progressively discovered that good fats are good for you (and even vital) and bad fats are bad for you. Natural fats from nuts, natural oils are essential in the good functioning of our body, as they are a back-up fuel when all carbs have been processed and used as fuel.

We now have the power to choose what we eat with the rise of organic foods and the no additives, no preservatives, no added sugar, not from concentrate... labels (I would always take a look at the ingredients list, just to make sure, however).
Members of the public need to be as aware as possible about the effects of processed foods, refined sugars, saturated fats as well as traces of pesticides treating fruits and vegetables we eat, and antibiotics used on farm animals to treat infections. Only then will people voluntarily choose better foods for themselves and their families, and help eradicate the food industry scam. After all, if we don't buy it, they can't carry on selling it.

And hopefully that will change mentalities of all food companies to protect their customers' health rather destroy it for profit.

Until next week for the final part of this article...


Sunday, 13 October 2019

Sunday Journaling Prompt #7

Happy Sunday, my dear journalers.

This week's journaling prompt below:


With everything going on around us and in our lives, other people's expectations, society's expectations, it can be so easy to truly lose yourself.

This week, I'm asking you to reflect on what makes you feel YOU and keep these in mind to use as a compass when you feel you're losing your way.

Enjoy...

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Food - You Become What You Eat (Part 2)


Welcome back to Part 2 of this article. This week we are going to focus on what your body needs to function.

WHAT YOUR BODY NEEDS

Your body needs fuel to function, just like a car needs petrol to run. Different parts of our body will need different nutrients, which is why it is so important to have a varied diet


Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin, infection protection, in the assimilation of proteins, vision; it is also a powerful antioxidant and immune system booster.



Vitamin B1 is vital for energy production, brain function, digestion, and is also an antioxidant.



Vitamin B2 helps turn fat, sugar and protein into energy, repairs and maintains healthy skin, regulates body acidity, helps with red blood cells formation and is essential for hair and nail growth.



Vitamin B3 helps with energy production, aids in balancing good sugar, assists with digestion and cleanses toxins.



Vitamin B5 is also an important actor in energy production, controls fat metabolism, is essential to the brain and nervous system and helps produce anti-stress hormones, as well as healthy skin and hair.



Vitamin B6 is essential for protein digestion and utilisation, brain function, hormone production; it is also an immune system booster and helps control allergic reactions.



Vitamin B12 is needed for protein assimilation, helps blood carry oxygen, is essential for energy and nerves, deals with toxins and helps with DNA synthesis.



Folic acid (Folate) is critical for the foetus to develop the brain and nerves in pregnancy stages, assists in blood red cells formation, protein utilisation and nerve and brain function.



Biotin (Vitamin B7) assists with healthy skin, hair and nerves, and is essential in childhood for general development.



Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, makes collagen, keeps bones, skin and joints healthy, firm and resistant, is an antioxidant, detoxifies, increases absorption of iron, magnesium, copper and potassium, speeds wound healing, protects against cancer and heart diseases.



Vitamin D maintains strong, healthy bones by retaining calcium, increases immunity and protects against osteoporosis.



Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, protects cells from damage, helps the body use oxygen, improves wound healing, fertility, retards aging and boosts the immune system.


Vitamin K controls blood clotting, protects against osteoporosis, and is essential in the calcification of bones.



Calcium promotes healthy heart, clots blood, improves skin, bones and teeth, promotes healthy nerves, maintains correct acid and alkaline balance.



Magnesium strengthens bones and teeth, promotes healthy muscles, heart muscles and nervous system, and is essential for energy.



Phosphorus forms and maintains teeth, builds muscle tissue, is an important component in DNA and RNA, maintains the PH of the body and aids metabolism and energy production.



Potassium helps with removing waste products from cells, maintains fluid balance in the body, promotes healthy nerves and muscles, helps insulin secretion, maintains heart function, stimulates gut movement for proper elimination and is highly involved in metabolism.



Sodium maintains water balance and blood PH, prevents dehydration, helps nerve function, muscle actions, energy production, as well as moving nutrients into our cells. Sodium intake is important but should be controlled (no more than 6g a day but at least 5g as deficiency and over-consuming can both bring health concerns).



Boron is essential for muscle building, bone structure and brain function, and also helps prevent post-menopause osteoporosis.



Chromium forms part of the glucose tolerance factor, balances blood sugar, reduces cravings, helps protect our DNA, stabilises insulin function and is essential in the synthesis of fats and proteins.



Cobalt prevents anemia and aids in the synthesis of our DNA.



Copper is vital in the formation of barriers around nerves to protect them, is required with iron for oxygen to be transported in our blood, is involved in the production of collagen in bones, cartilage, skin and tendons, gives blood vessels, skin and lungs their elastic properties, and is a possible anti-inflammatory for arthritis.



Iodine protects against toxic effects of radioactive materials, and is a powerful antiseptic for water purification.



Iron is a component of hemoglobin (red blood cells); it transports oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from cells, is vital for energy production of connective tissue and brain neurotransmitters, and plays an important part in preserving the immune system.


Manganese helps with healthy bones, cartilage, tissue and nerves, stabilises blood sugar, promotes healthy DNA, is essential in the reproduction of red blood cells, and is required for brain function.



Molybdenum helps rid the body of uric acid, strengthens teeth, detoxifies the body from free radicals, petrochemicals and sulphates, and is an antioxidant.



Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that protects us from free radicals and cancer, reduces inflammation, stimulates our immune system to fight infections, promotes healthy heart, and is needed to maintain a healthy metabolism.



Silicon also stimulates the immune system.



Sulphur (or sulfur) disinfects blood, helps resist bacteria and toxins, stimulates bile excretion for digestion, and is an important part of the chemical structure of amino-acids.



And, finally, Zinc is a major component in over 200 enzymes in the body and DNA; it is essential for growth and healing, controls hormones, aids stress ability, promotes a healthy nervous system, and is vital for energy.

As you can see, there is a multitude of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) essential to our body's optimum functioning. While many good quality supplements are available to meet your body's nutritional needs, food is always a richer, better quality and more satisfying option.
Whole natural foods will be the best source for all these nutrients to be absorbed in our body and do their job.

If you are limited due to specific diets, allergies or financially (after all, not everyone can afford the best quality foods and in a wide variety), ALWAYS choose foods that contain the maximum variety of nutrients to meet your body's requirements and ensure your good health.

I hope this week's article has given you a better understanding of how complex and varied our body's needs are, and will help you select your foods with more awareness and purpose.

In our Part 3 next week, I will focus on the food industry and food industry standards, and how dependent most of us have been for pretty much all our lives on their influence for our food choices.
Until next time...

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Sunday Journaling Prompt #6

Happy Sunday all.

I hope that last week’s prompt helped you find some kind of direction.

This Sunday’s prompt will also be deep, although not focusing on what you need into your life, but what you bring into others’:


We all have an impact on others around us, and while our inner critic is always quick to point out how useless and insignificant we are, I just thought that, this Sunday, we could shut it up and show it the gifts we bring others to help them shine their light.

Shine on...

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Food - You Become What You Eat (Part 1)





























You know the adage, "You are what you eat"? I think it is oh so true.

Food, and more specifically what we eat, mostly determines how our body will look like, how effectively the bodily functions will work and your general level of health.
No matter how many hours a week you exercise and how intense your workouts are, if what you eat does not go in line, it will be all for nothing.

Understanding what foods do to you body, how your body works and what your body actually needs are essential if you want to achieve or maintain optimum health and fitness. Also, understanding how the food industry works will be a real eye opener for many of you, and be an essential part of how to choose your foods wisely.

I have now completed my Nutrition course and, even though I am planning to do an Advanced course probably next year, this added knowledge, as well as the Wildfit 14 Day Reset online program, have given me a better understanding of foods' dos and don'ts, optimal digestion and increased well-being.

PART 1 - How Your Body Works


Absorption of nutrients - and water - is essential for the whole body to function. Therefore, eating is not optional but a genuine physiological need, and what you eat should cater for those needs.

The process of digestion of foods will provide for those needs to be met.
Food is first masticated to make it more digestible but also for it to descend more efficiently through the oesophagus. Put very simply, the bolus of food will then be passed on into the stomach where gastric juices will break down the food for the nutrient to be separated. The pancreas, which produces insulin, will pick up the glucose extracted from the food, and the insulin will store it and transform it into energy.
The food gets moved into the intestines and all nutrients will then be sent into the blood stream. The energy is what will enable the body to move, run, play... Any waste from the food will be passed on into the intestines, to be transformed into urine (pee) or excrement (poo).

This is a very well-regulated system that takes what it needs to thrive and gets rid of what doesn't serve it (toxicity).

The digestion process will last an undefined amount of time, dependent on what foods are ingested, the combination of foods ingested as well as how masticated (broken down) the foods have been.
Mastication is extremely important as the more you chew your food, the more you break it down and the easier it will be to digest as the gastric juices will be able to dissolve it and extract nutrients quicker.

Different types of foods will also vary in their breakdown time due to their texture and consistency.
Fruits and vegetables will take between 30 minutes to 1 hour to get digested (smoothies take 15-20 minutes). Carbohydrates will take about 3 hours. Proteins will be digested on average in 4 hours and fats will take 2-3 hours, depending on the type of fat you eat. Be aware that fat added to your meal will slow down the digestion progress.
Combining foods in the same meal can also extend these digestion time ranges. The stomach will try, in general, to digest first the foods that take the longest to be broken down. So any foods combined that usually take less time will actually be digested after the other harder-to-digest foods have been broken down. The longer the foods stay in your stomach, the more they will putrefy (rot), causing the creation of bacteria and toxins sitting in your stomach and, in time, when accumulated, will lead to digestive problems that could easily become chronic if not addressed.

The reason why different types of foods cannot be digested at the same time is because each type of food requires a different enzyme in the stomach to break it down. Therefore, for optimum digestion, it is advisable to design simple combinations meals.
Bearing in mind that vegetables will be digested rapidly with anything, they can be easily combined with protein or carbohydrates very easily.
Ideally, protein and carbs (grains, pasta, rice, potatoes...) should not be combined in the same meal as the digestion process will be over-extended.
Fruits should always be eaten on an empty stomach, before food, as they are naturally rich in sugar. Sugar is a natural appetite booster so eating sugary foods at the end of your meal encourages you to eat more than your body actually needs to consume. It will also putrefy as other foods combined will take longer to digest.

While general meal sequence of starters, mains and dessert is fully embraced by restaurants and home meals alike, this sequence will focus more on culinary experience rather than nutritious needs and optimum digestion. It is not to say though that, on occasions, you shouldn't experience a delightful and indulgent culinary experience. At the end of the day, and it is certainly true for me despite the fact I try to learn about nutrition and food to optimize my health, you also need to enjoy what you eat as it is an important part of life, especially its social aspect of meeting with friends, catching up and bonding with family, otherwise what's the point.
We're not eating robots, we are human beings entitled to pleasurable experiences.

It is also all a matter of choice.

In our next part, we will explore what our body needs to function. In the meantime, I hope this introduction to food and the process of digestion has given you "food for thought" and more awareness of the relationship between food and your well-being.

Until next time

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Sunday Journaling Prompt #5

Happy Sunday, my fellow journalers.

Today I am asking you to dig deep and be extremely honest with yourself, without any shame or any fear. It is important for you in order to progress to a place in your life where you will find your happiness.


I know, this is scary shit, but we’ll worth doing. It doesn’t mean that you’ll need to drop everything in your life, but it will give you a clearer idea of what you actually need and devise a plan of action to get it.
It was this question that led me on this journey  - one baby step at a time...

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

What Song Are You?

If you should pick a song to represent you, which would it be?

Funny how other people’s words, such as quotes, lyrics, poems, can speak so much to us, in ways so deep that they feel like they uncover our true feelings and experiences, when words fail us to describe what we want to say.  

Like many people in this world, I’m sure, music and songs have always been part of my life - I’m not a singer or a musician, unfortunately (or fortunately!) but I’ve always considered music and songs in particular, a perfect way to feel what I was going through at the time. We all have songs dear to us, representing certain parts of our lives, events or remembering other people - every time I hear Depeche Mode’s “Just Can’t Get Enough”, I always think of my dad and can’t help but feel emotional. He loved this song so much; I made a mixed tape for car trips including this song and the tape soon died as he’d ask me to rewind that song so often.

Like many in this world, I have gone through shit, more than once, struggled, got betrayed by people I cared about and/or trusted. I got broken into so many little pieces that it took me years to get myself back together, the time the way I really wanted to be. For many years, all I could feel was despair, hatred, jealousy, resentment, anger, I had my dreams shattered and, through all that, music and songs helped me express what was stuck inside me. I felt emotionless and empty, except when I was listening to music. Thank god I’ve gone past that stage now, but I still cry at songs that are so close to my heart for all these reasons. They remind me of who I was, what I went through and who I have become.

 My song is Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter”: After all you put me through, You think I’d despise you, But in the end I wanna thank you ‘Cause you’ve made me that much stronger (...) After all of the stealing and cheating You probably think that I hold resentment for you But uh uh, oh no, you’re wrong ‘Cause if it wasn’t for all that you tried to do, I wouldn’t know  Just how capable I am to pull through So I wanna say thank you ‘Cause it Makes me that much stronger Makes me work a little harder It makes me that much wiser So thanks for making me a Fighter Made me learn a little faster Made my skin a little bit thicker Makes me that much smarter So thanks for making me a Fighter (...) You thought I would forget But I remembered ‘Cause I remembered I remembered” This song, to me , symbolises my journey and the person I have become despite the obstacles. What does your song say about you?

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Sunday Journaling Prompt #4

Hello guys. I hope you’ve been having an awesome weekend.
Here is a new journaling prompt for you:


My teddy is giving you a super easy prompt to wake up your observation skills. Be as detailed as you like - it’s a really fun exercise.

Until next Sunday...

Much love x 💕