Beat the bloat… Our top four tips for reducing bloating and fluid retention fast

Did the end of year festivities leave you feeling a bit sluggish and puffy?  You’re not alone… the season of indulgence and partying tends to cause many a healthy habit to fall by the wayside. As a consequence, we may experience irregularity, bloating and fluid retention.

 

But fear not, a few lifestyle tweaks can do a lot to help you feel better – just be sure to chat to your GP first if your symptoms are severe or you’re pregnant.

 

 

  1. Up the (right kind of) fluids

 

Drinking more fluids seems counterintuitive when we’re trying to ease water retention… you’ve probably heard drinking up in fact flushes out waste as well as excess salt, which are often the reason why fluid accumulates in the body.

 

So up your intake of water, or try your hand at juicing. Besides having a high water content, certain fruit and veg – such as lemon, watermelon, pineapple, celery and cucumber – have beneficial effects on the intestinal system too, with natural diuretic properties, and can help keep us regular too. And if excess gas is the problem, herbal teas like ginger or peppermint are great to guzzle to banish the bloat. Limit carbonated drinks though, for obvious reasons…

 

  1. Eat for hormonal balance

 

That time of the month? Many women experience water retention and bloating a few days before they get their period: there may be an increase in fluids in the abdomen as well as hands and feet. The scales can climb up by as much as 10 lbs just because of the excess water.

 

To help balance hormones (and counter PMS-related bloating), make sure you’re eating plenty of fresh fruit and veg. Potassium-rich bananas are a good choice, and so are fibre-rich nuts, legumes and whole-grains. After an even bigger impact? Significantly reduce animal fat and protein; ditch the extra salt and processed foods and cut right down on alcohol (might sound like a chore but check out your ankles after a week and you’ll be skipping all the way to the celery aisle!).

 

  1. Get moving

 

Tied to the desk? A lot of time sitting down can slow things down (read: cause constipation) and lead to swollen legs. Movement counters this by stimulating the bowels, circulation and the lymphatic system, so get up for a stretch on a regular basis. Sweating is even better when it comes to getting rid of excess fluid, so schedule some fun cardio into your week.

 

  1. Soak up some magnesium

 

Few things are as relaxing as soaking in a warm bath, but adding two cups of Epsom or magnesium salts into the water can also boost your body’s ability to eliminate toxins and excess fluid. Relax for 20 minutes (don’t let the water get too hot) and repeat once a week if needed.

 

 

 

Inhale wellbeing, exhale stress …The power of proper breathing

How often do you think about your breathing? Probably no more than you do about blinking or swallowing, unless you meditate a lot… So it may come as a surprise that the way we breathe habitually can have a major effect on our physical and emotional wellbeing.

We’re all born breathing in the optimal way. But as we begin to spend more of our time sitting down (first at school and later, the office), face new responsibilities and stressful situations and are even encouraged ‘suck it in’ to make our stomachs appear flatter, many of us switch over time to a less efficient, shallower style of breathing. And the difference in the amount of fresh, oxygenated air our body receives with each breath can be huge: shallow breathing may use only about a third of our lung capacity (que lethargy, poor digestion, anxiety, negative moods, trouble sleeping…).

Fortunately, we can re-learn our natural way of breathing. And while it’s not a miracle cure or the answer to everything, the potential health benefits are so significant it’s no surprise that breathing features at the heart of many wellbeing practices, from yoga to meditation.

And gasp… it’s also free, requires no equipment and is available to us wherever we are!

1. The importance of correct breathing

Oxygen is essential to our wellbeing – every cell requires oxygen to function properly and can’t survive long without it. From digestion and detoxification of our immune system, breathing fully lets our cells and vital organs do what they do at maximum efficiency. Shallow breathing, on the other hand, taxes our body by pushing it to work harder and makes us more vulnerable to physical ailments.

Our mental wellbeing also gets a boost from proper breathing. Our brain functions best with a steady supply of oxygenated air which helps us stay more alert and focused and may also lift our mood.

2. The stress-breath connection

Stress and anxiety are best buddies with shallow breathing: the tightening, tension-inducing effects of stress cause shallow, quick breathing – and breathing this way makes it more difficult for us to relax again. But while we can’t avoid stressful situations, we can take steps to calm ourselves and break the cycle by consciously focusing on and changing our breathing. Slow, deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping us relax and avoid a host of potential health problems.

3. Correct breathing, step by step

So how do we breathe correctly? The natural way of breathing is also known as belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing (after diaphragm, the main muscle involved in breathing, which is located underneath the lungs): the belly rises and falls with each inhalation and exhalation, while the chest stays relatively still. Natural breathing is also fairly slow and the lungs are completely filled and emptied with each breath.

If we’re used to shallow chest breathing, we may need to spend some time practising belly breathing. Making the change doesn’t need to be a huge undertaking, though: spend a little time everyday (maybe first thing in the morning and last thing before bed) focusing on your breath and adjusting as necessary, and repeat whenever you become aware of your breathing throughout the day.

Try these steps:

1.     Place one hand on your chest and one on your belly (this makes it easier to notice if we’re breathing with the chest or the belly)

2.     Push your belly out with each inhalation and pull it in with each exhalation

3.     Let your lungs fill in and empty out completely

With enough practise, breathing deeply with the belly should become effortless and automatic.

3. Breathe… as first aid for stress

Not only does correct breathing support our general wellbeing, but it’s also one of the best tools to get us over a those stressful humps during the day… There are plenty of breathing techniques to choose from when you want to induce some calm into the chaos of a busy day, but ‘tactical breathing’ is an easy one to remember. Used by the military and athletes to manage stress, the steps are super simple:

1.     Inhale for a count of four

2.     Hold for a count of four

3.     Exhale for a count of four

4.     Hold for a count of four

5.     Repeat four times

Want to see tactical breathing in action? Belisa Vranich talks about the power of correct breathing and demonstrates her breathing technique in this TEDx Talk.

Have yourself a radiant Christmas – the AEOS way

Hello radiant Christmas skin – be it festive parties or cosying indoors ‘hygge’ style, be sure your skin is looking and feeling its best throughout the festive season – and guess what? It’s so easy! Get (and maintain) the glow by combining the powers of a good skincare routine with a range of complexion-boosting beauty foods and a couple of healthy habits.

 

 

  1. Top five festive beauty eats

 

Make these foods a part of your festive menu, and you’ll keep your skin nourished throughout the holiday season…

 

Nuts

 

Feeling peckish? Snack on nuts for a dose of protein, healthy fats and minerals to boost your skin. Stock up on a good variety for a wider range of nutrients: hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E, Brazil nuts provide plenty of selenium and walnuts are your nutty go-to for omega fatty acids.

 

Avocados

 

For angel-worthy radiance, keep skin supple and bouncy by adding avocados to your meals, wherever in the world you are. This bright green fruit is rich in healthy fats that combat the skin-drying effects of wintery weather as well as including compounds that protect against UV-damage.

 

 

Good oils

 

Healthy oils are wonderful at keeping your skin hydrated and smooth, and can even help soothe  inflammation and increase collagen production. Choose omega-3 rich flaxseed oil or vitamin E rich extra virgin olive oil. Drizzle liberally on your salad …or any dish really.

 

Bright fruit and veg

 

Add colour to your plate and partner the heavier holiday dishes with generous helpings of fruit and veg. As well as feeling lighter, you’ll be feeding your skin with collagen-boosting vitamin C and free-radical battling carotenoids. It’s a win-win.

 

 

Dark Chocolate

 

For many, it isn’t Christmas without chocolate – and the good news is that choosing the right kind can also be kind to your complexion! Dark chocolate has a high concentration of skin-enhancing minerals like magnesium, and raw chocolate in particular is high in antioxidants. When possible, limit chocolate treats with dairy and processed sugar (which aren’t as kind to your skin).

 

 

  1. Healthy holiday habits

 

Exercise

 

Get nutrients and oxygen flowing to your skin with some exercise – the circulation boost will help your skin rejuvenate and get rid of toxins more efficiently too. Grab a pal or the fam and head to your local ice rink or the park together to make exercise more fun and get a dose of fresh air to boot.

 

Drink more water

 

The weather this time of year (be it mid-winter or summer for you) coupled with all the parties and oh-so many festive tipples on offer, makes it extra important to remember to drink enough water. Start your day by drinking a big glass of water and remember to alternate alcoholic drinks with one as well.

 

Get your beauty sleep

 

A good night’s sleep is as vital to our complexion as it is to our general sense of wellbeing: our bodies do most of their healing and regeneration at night. So make sure you strike a healthy balance between socialising and sufficient sleep to keep your skin feeling its best.

 

Skincare routine

 

Look after your skin on the outside as well as the inside by following a good daily skincare routine. Cleanse, tone and moisturise in the morning and before bed, and don’t forget to exfoliate. See the results when you follow our three-phase system which is easy to tailor to your skin’s needs.

 

Reduce stress

 

As we all know, stress plays havoc on skin – and the run-up to Christmas can be especially stress inducing — be it panicking about all the presents we haven’t managed to buy yet, trying to make travel arrangements or even clashing with family members… Don’t be afraid to step back and recharge when you need it.

 

 

 

 

The life-force of water

Water – so essential for life – is also a vital ingredient in most of our formulations. So naturally we care a great deal about the quality of it. We start with the purest possible water and work in harmony with Mother Nature every step of the way to enhance it further, creating base for our formulations with the greatest beneficial effects for your skin.

 

Read on to discover what makes our water just so special…

 

 

  1. Natural origins

 

The story of our water begins at its source. All the water in our beauty formulations is artesian ground water, which is naturally filtered over time through layers of porous rock or sand. And, in case you didn’t know, the name artesian is derived from the name of the French province Artois, where the first artesian water well was created by local monks in 1126.

 

We’re deeply inspired by the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto whose water crystal photography demonstrates the capacity of water to hold ‘memories’, both positive and negative. Using natural artesian water ensures that it’s as far as possible infused with only positive energies.

 

 

  1. Pure and energised

 

 

Harnessing the power of natural rhythms, we ensure that in the next stage of our water preparation process, the water passes through special vortex pipes which allow it to flow in spirals, which is how it would naturally flow in streams and rivers. This process called ‘restructuring’ is based on the pioneering work of Viktor Schauberger, who was inspired by the energetic qualities of water and processes that enhance them.

 

At this stage, the water is also further purified by removing all bacteria as well as any excess of natural metals and minerals.

 

 

  1. Charged with crystals

 

After a thorough purification and restructuring of the water, it’s channelled into chambers that contain carefully selected crystals. The beneficial qualities of the crystals (from tranquillity to wellbeing) are imprinted into the water’s memory.

 

 

  1. Vibrant and alive

 

And here’s the really clever bit… in the final stage of preparing our water, we use a process called electro-static induction (ESI) which breaks down bonds and causes vibrations in the water – akin to what happens when water from a very high waterfall hits a hard, solid surface. This process primes our water to penetrate the layers of skin more easily, allowing the hydrating ingredients in our formulations to work at a deep level.

 

Trust your body: the intuitive path to a healthy weight

How many diets have you done in your lifetime? Be honest… And how much thinner are you now as a result, having kept the weight off? Every year there’s buzz around yet another weight loss ‘breakthrough’, the latest celebrity approved miracle “diet to end all diets”. Whether it’s cutting down drastically on carbs, sugar or fats, going for intermittent fasting or consuming low-calorie meal replacement products, we’re told that a few months down the line, we’ll have achieved our ideal weight and will live thinly ever after…

Except that studies tell us that dieting rarely works in the long term. Sure, we can rapidly lose weight on a diet, but more often than not the pounds creep back again. One 2007 study reported that up to two-thirds of people who’d been on a diet, went on to gain even more weight than they’d initially lost.

What are we to do then if we want to achieve and maintain a healthy weight? If dieting doesn’t work, what does?

1. The real cause of weight gain?

On the surface, the cause of weight gain seems simple enough – we pile on the pounds if we consistently eat more calories than we burn through exercise. However, that doesn’t explain why we do it…
Chronic stress has been flagged in many studies as one reason behind overeating. Heightened levels of stress hormones increase our appetite and make us crave sugary and fatty foods in particular. Sleep deprivation and suppressed emotions can likewise lead us to eat more.
According to Eckhart Tolle, overeating is often a response to our ego’s feelings of not having or being enough. As a result, going on a strict diet may temporarily ‘fix’ things, but without solving the underlying causes, we can easily fall into a never-ending cycle of deprivation and binging…
  1. What the naturally slim people do

Interestingly, when the Global Healthy Weight Registry interviewed people who’ve always maintained a healthy weight, they discovered that naturally slim people generally eschew ‘dieting’ or depriving themselves. Rather, they’re conscious about what they eat but don’t stress about indulging in the occasional treat. Most of them eat plenty of fruit and veg and favour home-cooked meals over processed food and exercise on a regular basis. Perhaps most importantly though, they tend to be in tune with their body: eating when they feel hungry and being mindful about the inner cues that tell them when to stop. And that can be learned.

  1. Intuitive eating

The basis of intuitive eating is trusting our body’s innate intelligence and ability to regulate its weight. The body is an ally that knows how much it needs. And we can learn to listen to its signals by eating more mindfully.

If you feel an emotional urge to binge and find yourself reaching for the biscuits, try these steps…

  1. Stop and tell yourself that you can have a biscuit in 30 minutes, if you still want it. Then tune into what you’re feeling in the moment. Acknowledge and accept the emotion you’re experiencing. Stay with it without trying to push it away. Observe how much you desire that biscuit 30 minutes later.
  2. Ask yourself what you really need and want. Perhaps it’s rest? Or support from your loved ones? The biscuit may be just a ‘stand-in’ for something else we long for. Is there a way to meet that need?

Whenever possible, eat your food mindfully (especially when it’s biscuits). Present your food in a way that looks appealing and sit down to eat your meal without distractions (try not to eat while standing or watching the TV). Take a moment to [Read more…]

The wisdom within: are you ‘listening’ to your dreams?

We’ve all experienced it… that particularly strange or intensely emotional dream that made us ask ourselves ‘what on earth was that all about?’. But how often do we leave it at that and get on with our day without further reflection? As nonsensical and peculiar as they seem, dreams can help us access genuine insights, inspiration and valuable new perspectives. Many times, all we need to do is start listening to the messages with curiosity and an open mind to gain access to this more intuitive part of ourselves.

  1. The guide within

Perhaps you have extremely vivid dreams, or perhaps you hardly ever remember them. But whichever camp you fall in, there’s potentially a lot to gain from tuning into what you do remember.

 

The value of dreams lies in their ‘uncensored’ nature – stripped from all conscious thoughts, our dreams provide a more complete picture of what is going with us internally than we may perceive in our waking state. Sometimes this means illuminating unprocessed experiences and suppressed emotions that we may have been ignoring to our detriment. In these instances, working with our dreams can be the first step in either making our peace with what is or seeing what we need to change.

 

But the power of dreams goes beyond flagging up ‘problems’. Dreams can also become a steady source of inspiration and provide new perspectives and powerful insights that can help us think outside the box.

 

  1. Recalling your dreams

Some dreams have such a powerful effect on us that we’ll remember them for a long time afterwards. Most of the time though, it’s only too easy to forget a dream as soon as we’re up and focussing on the new day.

To get the most out of your dreams, keep a notepad next to your bed and jot down what you can remember as soon as you wake up in the morning. Don’t worry about remembering everything, simply write down any bits and pieces you can recall, even if it’s just the general feeling of the dream. You may find that the more often you record your dreams, the more you’ll be able to remember.

  1. Working with your dreams

So you’ve recorded some of your dreams… now what? The analytical parts of our brain might want to rush in and thoroughly dissect our dreams to tease out their meaning, but a far simpler and possibly more effective method is to simply meditate or reflect quietly on any emotions and images that have appeared in [Read more…]

Get laughing to boost your health and happiness

When did you last have a proper giggle? Or a hearty belly laugh? Chances are you chuckled at a funny photo or a video at some point today… We enjoy laughing so much that a lot of the time we spend on various social media channels is spent on sharing funny content. But did you know that laughing doesn’t only feel good in the moment, but can actually have many long-lasting benefits for our physical and mental wellbeing alike?

 

Learn more about the many ways laughing is great for you and how to consciously cultivate laughter in your life…

 

  1. The benefits of laughter

 

You’ve heard the saying ‘laughter is the best medicine’, but how much can it really do for us? A lot, it turns out!

Mental wellbeing

Stressed out? Having a giggle (and even just anticipating one) has been shown to lower the amount of stress hormones circulating in our bodies. Anxiety and tension can similarly melt away after a good guffaw, while moments of mirth may also boost our brain function and ability to perform mentally demanding tasks.

In addition to improving one’s mood, laughing also has the power to reduce interpersonal conflicts and enhance our relationships: couples who laugh a lot together are likely to form the most satisfying and long-lasting partnerships.

Physical wellbeing

Pain is no laughing matter, but if you can find the humorous side of things while in you’re in pain, laughing can actually cause a release of natural painkillers in the body as well as easing muscular tension. Laughing – especially deep belly laughs – is also a mini-workout and can boost circulation and lower blood pressure, reducing our risk of heart disease. Finally, chuckling away can also help us avoid getting sick by giving our immune system a boost.

 

  1. How to laugh more

 

Who wouldn’t like to laugh more? Life can get tough though, and we certainly don’t laugh as readily when we’re feeling low or stressed out. Yet, we may get the greatest benefit from laughing in the most challenging times, if we can find a way to have a giggle more often.

 

Turn to the (laughing) professionals

 

If laughs have been in short supply recently, inject some more comedy into your day: watch a sitcom or a stand-up show, pick up a funny book to read or tune into a comedy podcast… Make a note of who (or what) makes you laugh the hardest – it will be a brilliant resource to turn to whenever you need an uplifting laughter boost.

 

 

Try laughter yoga

 

When life is particularly challenging or difficult, nothing seems particularly funny, and we may feel that we have no choice but to miss out on the wellness-boosting powers of laughter until we feel better.  But we may actually get the same benefits from laughing whether it’s genuine or faked.

 

Laughter yoga is based on the belief that we can harness the power of laughter even when we’re feeling low. Better still, a lot of people who go to a laughter yoga class find that as the session progresses, their laughter actually becomes genuine and before they know it they’re laughing their heads off. Laughter yoga is most effective in company, but if you’d like to give it a go right now (or to see what it’s like), check out this online laughter yoga session with Bianca Spears (video here).

 

 

Discover the beautifying powers of serum

We’d hazard a guess that you’ve probably got a fairly good idea why using a cleanser and a moisturiser is great for your complexion – these familiar skincare essentials have been around the beauty block for quite some time after all. But what about that so-called serum stuff? Is it really necessary? Read on to find out how it will take your skincare routine to the next level…

 

  1. What makes serum a beauty hero?

 

Why should you include serum in your daily beauty routine? What exactly does it do? Serum is a hydrating powerhouse, but unlike a moisturiser that nourishes the top layer of the skin, serum works its magic in the deeper layers of the skin’s epidermis due to the smaller size of its molecules.

 

Serum is rejuvenating for all skin types, but it’s particularly beneficial for dry and mature skin types thanks to the high concentration of deeply hydrating active ingredients. A key component in any high quality serum is hyluaronic acid, which boosts hydration levels in the skin by attracting and retaining water, effectively filling in fine lines and wrinkles for a smoother and healthier-looking skin.

 

  1. Experience the AEOS Multi-Award Winning Realive Serum

 

Ready to discover the potent power of serum? Our multi-award winning Realive Serum harnesses nature’s hydrating powers to plump and revitalise. Our formulation includes pure, botanically-derived hyaluronic acid, complemented by our ultra-nourishing organic and biodynamic spelt oil as well as other beneficial plant oils and extracts.

 

  1. How to use the AEOS Realive Serum

 

Our Realive Serum is highly concentrated and super potent, so you’ll need to apply only a tiny amount each time. Include it in your morning and evening skincare rituals, taking care to apply after cleansing and before applying a moisturiser. For greatest benefits, the optimal way to use our serum is to apply it after our multi-award winning Refreshing Hydrating Mist as part of the ‘Replenish’ step of our three-phase system.

 

Look after yourself and the planet – one plant-based meal at a time

You’ve probably noticed that plant-based eating has been getting a lot of media attention recently. The interest in vegetarian, vegan and ‘flexitarian’ or low-meat diets has skyrocketed in the past few years. As a consequence, foregoing or limiting meat and other animal products is no longer considered outlandish or thought of as just another passing food fad.

But what is plant-based eating exactly? Simply put, it’s a diet composed either exclusively or primarily of foods of plant origin, including veggies, grains, nuts, seeds, beans and fruits. Animal products, such as meat, fish, milk and eggs, feature in small amounts if at all.

If you’ve ever been curious about plant-based eating, there’s never been a better time to give it a go –the availability of plant-based products is at an all-time high as global brands and new start-ups alike are catering for this new growing demographic.

1. The benefits of eating a plant-based diet

So why are people switching to plant-based eating, and why might you want to give it a dabble? The most common reasons to favour veggie fare include the following:

 Compassion for animals

Animals are the most obvious beneficiaries of the plant-based eating trend. It’s estimated that collectively we munch our way through more than 56 billion farmed animals every year. And this number doesn’t include fish (consumption of seafood is measured in tonnes) or animals like the majority of male calves and chicks that are disposed of shortly after birth because they can’t produce milk and eggs. And even dairy cows and hens live only a fraction of their natural lifespan because they’re only kept alive while their productivity is at its highest. By changing the way we consume animal products and therefore vote with our wallets, we can join the ever-growing collective message that animals deserve better.

Treading lightly on our planet

For many, the environmental impact of animal agriculture is the main reason why they choose to reduce their meat and dairy consumption. Growing plant crops is a more effective way to feed the world than raising animals for food: it takes up far less space and uses less water as well as producing less waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Eating for health and beauty

Finally, lots of people decide to switch from a diet heavy in animal products to a more plant-based lifestyle to look after their health. Many studies show that adopting a plant-based diet can help prevent or even reverse many of the more common health conditions from heart disease to diabetes. Other benefits of incorporating more veggie meals may include higher energy levels, a healthier weight, better sleep and improved mental health.

And if you’re interested in eating for beauty, making space for more fruit and veg on your plate ups your intake of vitamins, healthy fats, fibre plus many micronutrients and can lead to a clearer and brighter complexion.

2. How to transition towards a plant-based way of eating

Do it at your pace

 

Do you find the idea of plant-based eating appealing… but completely daunting at the same time?

If going ‘pure plants’ feels too extreme right now, why not commit to one plant-based meal a day for a month and see how it goes? Every healthy veggie meal you eat will benefit you, the animals and the planet, whether you eventually decide to go fully plant-based or perhaps choose a flexitarian approach.

 

Retrain your taste buds

 

What if you just aren’t too keen on eating veggies? Or don’t want to give up your favourite (animal-based) foods? Put the focus first on sampling new plant-based foods and trying out different recipes instead of eliminating foods you love from your diet. With the staggering amount of blogs featuring plant-based recipes from around the globe, you’re bound to discover dishes that will please your taste buds (and might even become new favourites). Research suggests that our palates can adjust to dietary changes over time: the more we eat certain things, the more likely we are to enjoy them too.

 

Speaking of recipes, here are two simple-to-make but oh-so-satisfying plant-based dishes for you to try out. Featured on the Minimalist Baker (where blogger Dana shares her passion for healthy, simple meals that not only taste incredible but come together fast), they might just convince you that you’re not going to miss meat and dairy that much after all…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Avocado Pudding (A recipe by the Minimalist Baker)

Chock-full of healthy fats and whole-food goodness, this dessert (or breakfast… why not?) tastes much naughtier than it is… And all you need to whip it up is a handful of ingredients and a couple of minutes – the steps are pretty much just blend and chill before you dive in.

Ingredients (6 portions)

  • 1 1/2 ripe avocados
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/2 salted peanut butter + more for topping
  • ~ 1/2 cup sweetener of choice (e.g. maple syrup, agave or date paste)
  • ~ 1/4 cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk

Method

  1. Add all ingredients into a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth.
  2. Divide between 6 small serving glasses, cover with plastic wrap (pressing the plastic wrap down on the pudding to prevent a skin from forming and chill for a few hours, or overnight.
  3. Top with a drizzle of salted peanut butter.

 

30-minute Coconut Curry (A recipe by the Minimalist Baker)

We’ve got your dinner sorted, too. Rich yet healthy and lightly spiced (though you can always add more spices to get your desired level of heat and flavour), this colourful Indian-inspired curry can be adapted by substituting your favourite vegetables or whatever you happen to have. Pair the curry with quinoa for an extra protein kick and you’ve got yourself a meal that covers most of your nutritional bases.

Ingredients (4 portions):

  • 1 Tbsp coconut or olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger (or 1 tsp ground)
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets (or green bell pepper), diced
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup diced tomato
  • 1/3 cup snow peas (loosely cut)
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • optional: Pinch cayenne or 1 dried red chili, diced (for heat)
  • 2 14-ounce cans light coconut milk (sub full-fat for richer texture)
  • 1 cup veggie stock
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • For serving (optional): fresh lemon juice, fresh herbs, red pepper flakes

Method

  1. Heat a large saucepan or pot to medium heat and add 1 Tbsp coconut oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, carrot, broccoli and a pinch each salt and pepper and stir. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add curry powder, cayenne (or chili pepper), veggie stock, coconut milk, another healthy pinch of salt and stir. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat slightly and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the snow peas and tomatoes in the last 5 minutes so they don’t overcook.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added another pinch or two of salt.
  5. Serve over quinoa, rice or millet and garnish with fresh lemon juice and herbs.

 

How to get a beautiful night’s sleep…and rejuvenate skin, body and mind

Know that feeling of dragging yourself through the day after another turbulent night’s sleep? If so, you won’t need us to tell you that sleep deprivation can make everything a lot harder – and how you look and feel not so peachy either. Concentrating at work becomes difficult as our focus falters, and the little things are more likely to get on our nerves. We may also be more tempted by sugary snacks or rely heavily on glugging caffeine to keep us going…

Sleeping poorly on a regular basis can affect more than our attention span and stress levels. Various medical problems from obesity and diabetes to cancer and immune deficiency have been associated with chronic sleep deprivation. And skimping on nightly slumber (the time when our bodies get busy healing, repairing and renewing) spells disaster for our complexions too. One study showed a significant increase in blemishes, brown spots, redness and bacteria on the skin after just five days of reduced sleep, while another study demonstrated that long-term sleep deprivation accelerates skin aging (causing more fine lines and wrinkles) as well as slowing down healing from sunburn.

On the bright-eyed side though, when we do get into a healthy sleeping rhythm, we’re likely to feel brighter and less stressed and have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight and remembering things, to name a few benefits. In other words, sleep is worth prioritising and will make our waking hours count more to boot.

But what if you find it difficult to nod off at night? Or struggle to stay asleep? Try our three steps below to increase your chances of getting your beauty sleep tonight.

  1. Create an optimal environment for sleep

One of the more common things that hinders our attempts to drift easily at night is exposure to bright lights late in the evening. How easily we fall asleep – as well as the quality and quantity of sleep – is to a large extent linked to our levels of melatonin, aka the ‘sleep hormone’: darkness ramps up the production and bright lights suppress it. To keep things melatonin-friendly, avoid watching the telly or using your computer late in the evening, and aim to switch your phone off well ahead of bedtime. If possible, dim the lights in your home or switch to softer, amber coloured lights, such as Himalayan salt lamps, in the evenings, and use black-out curtains or blinds in the bedroom to create complete darkness at night.

Falling asleep is also partly cued by a natural fall in our body temperature, and keeping the bedroom cool can help us sleep better. The optimal room temperature for sleep is thought to be 15.5 – 19.5°C (60 – 67°F).

  1. Follow a sleep-friendly bedtime routine

A soothing bedtime routine is another good way to let our bodies know it’s time to wind down for sleep. Avoid caffeine after 3pm as well and skip exercising and eating a couple of hours before bedtime.

Instead, take time for a soothing evening ritual: gentle stretching, reading and a warm bath infused with lavender essential oil or our Blue (Serenity) Bath Salts are good ways to calm the mind and body alike. To maximise the complexion-boosting powers of sleep, treat your skin to a cleanse, tone and moisturise routine before hitting the pillow – for guaranteed glowing skin by morning try our three-phase system.

If an overactive mind is keeping you from falling asleep, try this: write a list of the things that are on your mind and leave it outside your room (or visualise the same if you have no pen and paper at hand). And if you’re getting frustrated and anxious about not being able to fall sleep, stop trying and pick up a book or meditate for ten minutes instead.

  1. Go for a sleep-boosting lifestyle

What we do in the last few hours before bedtime may have the biggest impact on the quality of our sleep, but what we get up to earlier in the day and matters too.

It’s easier to sleep well when we maintain a regular daily pattern: waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day as far as possible, including the weekends. Aim for at least [Read more…]