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Banana and Cinnamon Loaf

Rain, hail or sunshine, Banana bread/loaf is one of those ‘treats’ that always goes down so perfectly with a nice cup of tea. This Banana and cinnamon loaf is no exception. 

In fact, my Daughter is not a huge banana fan but loves cinnamon, so this get her tick of approval! Straight into the lunchbox it goes!!

Oh, if you could only smell this loaf when it came out of the oven…divine.

The best part about this banana loaf, is you can place all your ingredients in the food processor or blender, whiz it all up, pour into your loaf pan and pop in the oven…So simple, quick to prepare, and like all my recipes, full of nutrition.

Funnily, my oven is playing up ( a long story I won’t bore you with…) but fortunately, I have a little toaster oven and thought, why not? I popped it in there and to my pleasant surprise, it came out a treat. Yay for me.

This loaf/bread is Gluten, nut, dairy, grain and refined sugar free, in fact it has very little sugar in any form, but is sweetened enough with the banana and a little rice malt syrup.

Enjoy!

Banana and Cinnamon Loaf
Print Recipe
This loaf/bread is gluten, nut, dairy, grain and refined sugar free, in fact it has very little sugar in any form, but is sweet enough. For the lunchbox, snack or even a large slice for breakfast on the go! The best part about this banana loaf, is you can place all your ingredients in the food processor or blender, whiz it all up, pour into your loaf pan and pop in the oven...So simple, quick to prepare, and like all my recipes, full of nutrition.
Servings Prep Time
10 People 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 People 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Banana and Cinnamon Loaf
Print Recipe
This loaf/bread is gluten, nut, dairy, grain and refined sugar free, in fact it has very little sugar in any form, but is sweet enough. For the lunchbox, snack or even a large slice for breakfast on the go! The best part about this banana loaf, is you can place all your ingredients in the food processor or blender, whiz it all up, pour into your loaf pan and pop in the oven...So simple, quick to prepare, and like all my recipes, full of nutrition.
Servings Prep Time
10 People 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10 People 10 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 Large over ripe banana's
  • 4 medium sized eggs
  • 3 Tbs Coconut Oil, melted
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tbs rice malt syrup
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1- 1 1/2 Tbs Ground Cinnamon powder * we like cinnamon, so use 1 1/2tbs, but reduce to 1 tbs if too much.
  • 1 1/2 tsp Bicarb soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
Servings: People
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C and line a loaf tin ( 12x23cm).
  2. *Use 2 1/2 of your banana's for the mixture and keep 1/2 for placing on top of loaf. In a food processor/blender, add all your wet ingredients, then your dry ingredients. Blend/whizz till well combined. Approx 45sec-1 minute. Don't worry if you don't have this equipment. You can mix in a bowl, just add your wet ingredients first in one bowl. Then dry ingredients in separate bowl. Whisk, then add together and mix till well combined.
  3. Pour your mixture into the prepared lined pan, slice the remaining banana and place gently on top of mixture, then place into your oven. Cook for 45-50 minutes. I like to check after 45 minutes, by sticking a skewer in the centre of laof. If it comes our clean, it is ready. If a little batter in on the skewer, then place back in for another 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and place on a cooling tray, to cool slightly. Serve along side a nice cup of hot tea or even take a slice for breakfast on the go!
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When ‘Pushing Through’ is not the answer!

Image result for free image of pushing up hillLife is busier than ever before- we live in a world where you are contactable, connected and ‘on’ 24/7. And our to do lists, never seem to get completely tick off!

Amongst this crazy busy, you can easily fall into the habit of ‘pushing through’.

Do you feel like this?

You push through your day, your job, responsibilities, emotions and more. Even through illness. Who has time to be sick, right?

We even try and push through burnout and exhaustion…

We say to ourselves….

” Oh, if I just finish this job and get this done, then I can rest”. But does this EVER happen?

OR, perhaps you say…

” I’ll just push through the next few weeks of my unrealistic workload, then its my holidays, I’ll relax then!”

But do you? Do you find it hard to truly unwind- it takes you a few days or even a week to start to feel really relaxed?

Or often you go on vacation, only to end up so run down and sick, you spend half your holiday wound up on the couch or bed with a terrible virus?

The thing is, you cannot keep pushing through. Your mind, body and spirit cannot keep running this marathon ( yes, that’s what it can feel like) repeatedly, without refuelling and re-energising. Ask any athlete and they will tell you this. But in life, you seem to forget ( or even repress) this simple fact of balance, rest and restore.

You seem to think that ‘pushing through’ is the answer to the end of that to do list, then rest and peace will come.

But guess what?…..

That time sadly never comes, does it?

What really comes is more burnout, exhaustion, overwhelm, anxiety, brain fog, irritability….shall I go on? I think not, you get the picture here.

Often at the base of it all, it is our need to feel validated and recognised. That all this doing means you are achieving things and you’re important.

Trust me, I really do understand. I say all this without complete judgement as I was a classic ‘pusher througher” ( yes, I don`t think this is a real word??!). In fact I use to wear this title as badge of honour. But my health both physically and mentally paid a big price and it was this very pattern that keep me stuck there.

Even recently over the last couple of months, with the personal challenges I’ve been faced with and the process of selling our home to pursue a big family lifestyle change has seen this habit of ‘pushing through’ trying to sneak back in.

But I’ve said a resounding NO!

Now, the thing is, life sometimes throws you big life ‘stuff’ and you have to just put the head down, bottom up and simply get on with it- for example; a health crisis of a loved one or a major work or personal crisis of some sort. It happens. but we come out of it and life should settle down to a more cruiser speed, right? But what most of us are doing, is operating our lives at this level, every day, 7 days a week and you don’t go back into our ‘cruise control’ mode. If you do, its not for very long.

So what did I and can you do? 

Well the most important thing to do is get very clear and realistic about you can and cannot do.

  1. Set clear boundaries
  2. Recognise when those little signs of fatigue and irritability sneak in, pull back and simplify. These are messages your body is sending, so its important to start listening!
  3. Step up self care practices. For me, that’s; more baths, early to bed, sleep, resting whenever and however I can and being kind to my self.
  4. Pull back on too much exercise- do gentle exercise like slow walks, yoga etc. For some a hard workout or run is a wonderful stress release but make sure it doesn’t deplete you. Remember you want to restore not aggravate.
  5. Commit to longer and daily meditation, along with diaphramic breathing.
  6. Up my liver support. Your liver handles your hormones and stress, so when under pressure your liver works harder. So minimise liver loaders like caffeine, sugar, alcohol etc.
  7. Minimise distractions like social media.
  8. Focussing on the task at hand, not getting stressed or anxious about what else ‘needs’ to be done. Just deal with things as you go.
  9. Keeping my food intake still real, yet simple rather than opting for convenience out of a packet or take away. Yes, a few take away meals have snuck into my diet more than usual, but I’m not being rigid or berating myself, just mindful of fuelling my body right.
  10. Here’s my biggest one…. I ask for help! If I need to ask for assistance, delegate or outsource, then so be it! I can’t do it all ( even though I use to think I could) and no matter how capable I am or think I am, its actually more a sign of strength and resilience to reach out and ask for help, when needed.

There is no medal, reward or prize for ‘pushing through’ the furthest. No joy or peace at the bottom of the do list, just a big pile of  “oh, I’ll just have to do this all over again tomorrow and the next…”

So ask yourself….

Is this me? 

How do I feel?

Is this really working out for me?

If you’re saying a vey exhausted and resounding YES, then take a look at this list I’ve provided. Don’t try and do everything. Just choose one thing. Just one, that resonates and sounds achievable for you. Then try it. Give it a chance.

Always remember. one step at a time. you want to break this patterns of ‘pushing through’  not add to the overwhelm. Remember that desire to be validated and recognised for doing and achieving things?

Well guess what?

YOU ARE DOING ENOUGH!- you really are.

If you wish to seek more guidance or assistance in this area then contact me now for a FREE no obligation consultation and start removing the habit of ‘pushing through’ today.

 

 

Stress Part 4- Helping a loved one through difficult times and resources

Welcome to my last post in the series. I really hope it has been of some benefit to you or someone who has needed it.

Helping a loved one, no matter how young or old through difficult times is often something as humans we either step up to, or shy away from. Now I say this without judgement as we all have our reasons for stepping in or stepping away from this. But never underestimate the power of a simple act of kindness.

I was recently chatting to a close friend, who was sharing with me a wonderful positive experience she shared with her children. Her daughter who has started school this year, has been struggling with some tummy issues due to the anxiety of being separated, not only from her mum during school hours, but she is also not in the same class as her twin brother and her anxiety has been presenting itself as tummy pains. My friend was telling me on the way to school the other day, she played some very relaxing music in the car, then before going into the school grounds had all her children doing some deep diaphramic breathing. To her wonderful surprise and joy, all her kids stated that they loved this, felt much calmer and asked “could we do this every morning. Mum?”
Now this is music to my ears! Not only does this demonstrate the power of deep breathing but also how important it is to equip your children with coping strategies, even reminding yourself to this for your own wellbeing.
The old adage, ‘a problem shared is a problem solved’ can be very true in many cases. I’m not suggesting you go spill your problems and issues on complete random strangers, but reaching out and either giving or asking for support, help or guidance can simply make a difference of a good or bad day or week. Sometimes just being there for someone, holding their hand or listening to them, driving them to an appointment or even making them a meal can be of great help and support when others are going through stressful or difficult times.
Family friends of ours, are going through a terrible time. Both their two children are in hospital with serious health conditions, which are unrelated to one another. To make matters more challenging, they are in separate hospitals. Now this is real life stress and trauma. One that you just can’t imagine the worry and pressure you are placed under. So to simply offer help is one thing, but something I read about on a wonderful website (and also book) called Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, states that, instead of offering help to people going through major life challenges, just show up and do something for them. Sometimes they don’t know themselves what is it that they want or need. The point is, never underestimate the power a simple gesture no matter how small or grand can make to a person’s life during difficult time. So for our friends. We cooked the husband dinner one night and said, it’s here no matter what time of night you get here. He got here late, ate his dinner over a glass of wine with us and downloaded. I sent in a simple card, with a simple message and a lovely block of dark chocolate to his wife, who was camping bedside to one of their daughters. Now it’s not life changing, nor is it taking away the terribly stressful situation they are in, but it helps.

I know that I have experience some truly touching gestures by friends and family over these passed months that have meant more to me than any words could say. My gratitude to these   gestures have keep me feeling positive, supported and loved when negativity and overwhelm has surrounded me.

 

So finally, I would love to end this series by sharing with you some wonderful resources that I use, recommend to clients and anyone can utilise. Most of these are FREE, too.

1. Music- Listening to calming music is something that resonates for me. On Spotify you can search out relaxation music. Sound cloud is also my new favourite site for this; https://soundcloud.com.

YouTube have a lot for free and you even purchase on iTunes. Music can absorb our attention, it acts as a distraction at the same time it helps to explore emotions. This means it can be a great aid to meditation, helping to prevent the mind wandering. Musical preference varies widely between individuals, so only you can decide what you like and what is suitable for each mood. For me, during stressful times its deep relaxation, classical or chill out music.

Check out sonesence, which is beautiful meditation music, using a combination of music and biennial waves., created by Tahlee Rouillon

http://www.sonesence.com/

2. Meditation APPS– My favourite are;
• Mind Metro ( using music and biennial brainwaves to guide you through meditation)
• Smiling Minds ( which is brilliant for all ages)
• OMG I can meditate
• 1 Giant Mind
These Apps are free to download and most have access to all or some free guided meditations.

3. Free guided meditations and yoga session on YouTube.

YouTube is an amazing free resource with lots of wonderful guided meditations and yoga sessions to suit your individual needs.
Go here to find some great free resources, just enter in your requirements in the search panel. I enter meditation for stress and restorative yoga and loads of session will come up.
https://www.youtube.com/

4. Counselling/ therapy– Most GP’s can refer you to a counsellor or psychologist if need be. There is public funding for people who are unable to afford this service. Please talk to your GP for guidance in this area. Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance and support.

5. LIFELINE- is a free on call, 24/7 service you can call whenever you need someone to talk to. They can also guide you in the right direction. They have a self-tool kit on their website, which you can access here; https://www.lifeline.org.au/get-help/facts-and-information
Or call 131114

6. Rescue Remedy– is a homeopathic spray or drops and is a blend of five Bach Flower Remedies especially beneficial when you find yourself in traumatic and stressful situations. It’s something that I have been using and know many who swear by it. You can purchase it from any good health foods store, some pharmacies and online. Here is a link to a wonderful online store that stocks it; https://www.nourishedlife.com.au/search.html?qs=rescue+rememdy

7. Journaling-
The Resilience Project has a wonderful guided wellbeing journal, which you can check out here; https://the-resilience-project-shop.myshopify.com/collections/merchandise/products/my-resilience-project-journal

For kids there is a wonderful journal called big life Journal.
https://biglifejournal.com/collections/main-page/products/big-life-journal

Or simply buy a cheap but pretty notebook from any store and start the process of journaling down your thoughts and feelings. It’s a great way to channel all that’s going on in your life. I know for me and many of my clients, it creates clarity in amongst the chaos.

8. More Apps websites and books;
Apps-
• MindMetro- Lovely music to biennial waves, to help your brain relax.
• Calm- another wonderful app to use when needed.
• Headspace- a brilliant and simple app for meditation
• Insight timer
• Free Relaxing nature sounds
• 10% happier

Websites-
• Option B- this wonderful website and book has been written by Sheryl Sandberg. Option B helps people build resilience and find meaning in the face of adversity and draws on skills and tools to build resilience.
https://optionb.org/
• Headspace-
https://www.headspace.com/
• The Resilience Project-
https://theresilienceproject.com.au/

I truly hope that any information I have shared with you over this series has come to guide, assist and create a deeper understanding on not only how your body and mind operate under stress, but perhaps direct you to tools and strategies that can provide you or a loved one with better management because as I said even though we can have good stress that motivates and drives us, mostly ‘stress sucks’ and if we can navigate ourselves or others to minimise its impact then that makes for a happier, more grounded life!
Please let me know if this series has helped you or a loved one in anyway.

 

Stress part 3- My top 10 tools for better management

STRESS SUCKS! There I said it! Image result for free image of stress
I thought I never really suffered much with stress, but that’s the thing with some stressors, we can have it as a constant low lying level that just simmers away in the background, then eventually you wake up one day and feel overwhelmingly exhausted and have to force yourself to just stop, breathe and rejuvenate.
As an ex-busy rushing woman with a type ‘A’ personality and a ‘doing’ attitude (can you guess this was my big stress driver?), over the years, I have actively put daily practices and strategies in place to keep these levels at bay. Which for the most part has been very successful. But sometimes life throughs you curve balls.
These curve balls can throw you for six and leave you reeling, which has been something that I have been dealing with over the last several months. A big life curve ball! The thing that has surprised me the most, is I thought I was keeping everything under control, but then my body and mind went into ‘freeze’ response and I felt overwhelmed, unable to think clearly, stuck and almost powerless.
Big stressors and trauma can do this to you…..

Instead of accepting this, I let it frustrate me, as I just wanted to get on with it, but I couldn’t, which only added to my bodies stress response ( remember adrenaline and cortisol?) and created a lot of unnecessary anxiety within (hello, perception of added pressure!)
So the vicious cycle began!
But the moment I decided to just surrender to it all, that to accept so much was out of my control, then to get clear on what it was I could control and do, this then helped me regain the strength to move forward. Remember we can cannot control what others do, think or say, we can only control how we reacted to them or show up in the world.

So I’ve been working through things, accepting that it’s OK to feel this way, it doesn’t mean I have to like it, but fighting it is NOT helping. I’m ok, and I am well and truly on track to regaining my strength and grounding.
To paraphrase from the opening paragraph of ‘The Road Less Travelled’ by M Scott Peck-
“Life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult.”

The tips I want to share with you below are tools that have worked for me. I do hope something here resonates with you and as I always say, find what works for you and take one step at a time.

So here is what works for me:

1. Diaphramic breathing and meditation- Taking deep diaphramic breathes can be one of the simplest yet most powerful tools to can do for your health, yet it’s something we don’t give enough credit too. Take notice of your breath- is it all up in your chest? Is it short and sharp? Do you often feel breathless? Do you find yourself holding your breath? If you are not breathing correctly and not getting enough oxygen and blood circulating all around your body, this will keep your body in the constant state of stress and a huge depleted of energy. Take deep belly breaths, diaphramically.

Meditation is a practice that I have been doing for many years now, but not without its challenges. I thought you had to be all serene and your mind empty. The minute I learnt this is not the case, you can’t control your thoughts, just breathing into them and quieting them, this all changed for me. I will share my favourite meditation apps and resources with you next week.

2. Yoga- preferably restorative/yin. High impact exercise will only aggravate and already stress body, so gentle yoga has helped me keep my blood and muscles moving, stimulating my organs and giving me the feeling of being grounded and strong. You can google free yoga session online or go to a class. Look for Yin or Restorative yoga.

3. Seeking support– For me, talking with trusted loved ones, lots of hugs and having someone by my side (big shout out to my amazing hubby….Love you!). I’m a talker, so this has been essential for me to talk it out. Also I have an amazing Reiki healer who has been helping me shift any negative energy that my body has been holding onto. I have considered counselling but feel I am on track to recovery, but if you need to seek this help, please do. Lifeline is a free and wonderful support for anyone in need. You can call 131114.

4. Chiropractor– you may be thinking, “What?” Many postures and defensive tensions arise from anxiety and stress. Stress of a psychological or emotional nature can produce marked changes in the muscular-skeletal system, profoundly influencing the overall functioning of the body. My jaw, neck and shoulders have been extremely tense, especially my jaw overnight (bad dreams!) and my lower base spine. There are many great Chiropractors and Osteopath who get the whole holistic experience on the body and I am lucky to have a wonderful practitioner who understands this.

Check out SD Protocol here; http://www.sdprotocol.com.au/

5. Remove/ minimise stimulants– I don’t drink coffee, never have, so coffee has not been an issue for me, but alcohol or whatever your choice of stimulant could be, will only drive your body to produce more stress. Now I know you can often look for these things during challenging times, to either give you energy( caffeine) or numb your thoughts (hello ½ bottle of wine a night!), but I can assure you, long term, it is only adding to the effects of stress, not subsiding it. So no wine or vodka for me!

6. Sleep– This has been challenging at times, but I have been using a strong dose of an herbal remedy and really making sleep as much of a priority as I can. Meditation and restorative yoga have helped with this, also the 4-7-8 breath I shared with you in my first post and making sure I’m tucked up in bed nice and early and no social media at night.

7. Self-care– Nice long baths, walks, trips to the seaside, no matter what the weather (I do love being in or by water, the calming effects this gives me is profound.) Resting my body when I can rather than pushing through. Lots of cuddles and kisses with my daughter/hubby and reading or gardening. This is what works for me- do what works for you.

8. Scale back & simplify– All my clients will contest to this strategy! When you’re overwhelmed emotionally, physically or perceptively, then just scale back your life as much as possible. This will give you the space and time to simply breathe. Don’t be afraid to say No or cancel/reschedule if you have to. Just remove overwhelm and listen to what you body and soul needs.

9. Eat as healthy as possible– I have had many moments of not feeling hungry at all, which is HUGE for me, I love my food but I know my body on a cellular level needs energy and the only way it can receive this is by eating real food, so no junk food or takeaway, doesn’t have to be fancy or much, just simple and real.

10. Removing any negativity from my life that I can control– this includes watching/reading the news- filled with such negative images and stories! Minimising or avoiding social media and any negative people or situations that I can in my life.

These are tools and strategies that are helping and have helped me over the years. I’m not saying this will all work for you, but if you are going though stressful times, then try one or some of the tools that resonate with you. For anyone going though or has experienced any kind of trauma, make sure you seek the help you need. Going through difficult times doesn’t mean you need to go it alone. There is wonderful support our there and I encourage you to be courageous and seek this support out.

Next week I will share with you just what some of these supports and resources are. But until then, please stay happy, healthy and grounded!

 

Wicked Asian Spiced Chicken

This super quick and mega tasty marinade on this chicken I completely made up on the spot, with what I had in the fridge and cupboard. It was such a success with my family and so yummy, I thought I had to just share it with you.

In fact, this chicken was destined to be made into a whole other dish, ( I menu plan!) but on getting closer to cooking time, I changed my mind and decided to cut up the whole chicken I had into 10 pieces and whip up a marinade using what herbs I had and a few spices from the pantry.

The best part was, it took less than 5 minutes to whip up the marinade, then approx. 30-40 minutes to cook the chicken in a hot oven. While the chicken was cooking, I then whipped up a quick fried rice with some leftover brown rice that was in the fridge and some chopped up veggies.

Winning!!

I like to call this my Wicked Asian Spiced Chicken. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Wicked Asian Spiced Chicken
Print Recipe
it takes less than 5 minutes to whip up the marinade, then approx. 30-40 minutes to cook the chicken in a hot oven. Mega Tasty and Mega Quick!
Servings Prep Time
8-10 People 5 minutes
Cook Time
30-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-10 People 5 minutes
Cook Time
30-40 minutes
Wicked Asian Spiced Chicken
Print Recipe
it takes less than 5 minutes to whip up the marinade, then approx. 30-40 minutes to cook the chicken in a hot oven. Mega Tasty and Mega Quick!
Servings Prep Time
8-10 People 5 minutes
Cook Time
30-40 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8-10 People 5 minutes
Cook Time
30-40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tbs Tamari ( or Soy Sauce)
  • 2 cm Fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, grated
  • 1/2 cup Fresh corriander, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground corriander powder
  • 1 tsp Tumeric powder or freshly grated
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 Whole chicken cut into 10 pieces * you can have your buthcer do this for you, or you can purchase your pieces already prepared.
Servings: People
Instructions
  1. Place all your ingredients into a small mini blender or mini processor. Blitz till well minced and blended.
  2. Add your marinade to your chicken pieces, toss and mix well. You can either place in hot oven straight away or else marinade for any where from an hour to overnight.
  3. Once you have covered your chicken with the marinade, place in a hot oven, 200C and roast on a rack over a baking tray for 30-40 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces.
  4. Once cooked, you can serve with any of the following sides; Steamed Greens Stir Fry Vegetables Vegetable Fried Rice
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Stress Part 2- What’s really going on in your body?

Image result for Free image of a woman under stress

In todays post on stress, I will discuss;

  • What is really going on in your body
  • Stress v’s trauma
  • What is the flight or fight response? What is the freeze or flop response?

Stress comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s brief and passes, sometimes it’s low level but constant, sometimes it’s there but you are not aware of it, sometimes it’s chronic and other times it’s intense. Whatever or however it appears in your life, it all plays out the same way in your body and that is by the release of stress hormones, adrenalin and cortisol.

The one thing that is very clear is that when experiencing stress for long periods of time or of great intensity, the way it manifests in your body, mind and spirit, it can have a major impact on your health.

Let’s consider the impact that the stress can lead to in terms of our health and wellbeing?
• Adrenal fatigue
• Anxiety
• Thyroid issues and sex hormone imbalance (including PMT, debilitating menopause etc)
• Digestive issues
• Depleted immunity
• Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
• Poor sleep
• Constant fatigue
• Mood swings
• Blood pressure
• Cardiovascular
• Overall emotional wellbeing
• Headaches
• Feeling overwhelmed
• Lowering concentration
• Auto immune disease
• Increase of muscle tension and chronic pain
• Diminishes brain and liver function
The list can go on.

Now I don’t mean to scare you or overwhelm you here, this is not my intention, just too simply point out how important the management of this is.

We all have daily stressors. These can be;
• Pressure from your job
• Juggling family life
• Relationship issues
• Financial pressures
• An overwhelming ‘to do’ list
• Too busy
• Renovating/moving/selling a home
• Stuck in bad traffic
And much more…..

These are life issues that we all face, no matter what your situation is and it can be more often than not, about the juggle of life. This can often present itself as constant low to moderate lying stress levels. It can also be more about the perception of pressure, rather than actual reality that contributes to these levels.

What do I mean by this?
For example, the overwhelming to do list, is really just a list, not a real life threatening situation. If the beds don’t get made, or the 300 emails don’t get an immediate response from you, does it really matter? OR If you’re stuck in traffic and going to be late for work or that appointment, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it in that moment and the stress you place on yourself is not serving you or anyone for the better, now is it? These are called our perceptions of pressure!

Then, there are traumatic events that occur in your life that can challenge you in ways you can’t even imagine nor prepare yourself for. These events can elevate your stress levels and coping mechanisms to a whole other level. This could be;
• A death or serious illness of a loved one
• An accident/injury to you or a loved one
• Major conflict/dispute
• Marriage/relationship breakdown
• Threat or harm
• Witnessing a traumatic event
Or more….

Now if this is you, if you have been through a trauma of some sort, it is important you seek help from a qualified professional and receive the support you need. Stress from trauma is difficult and challenging to overcome and there are many great resources that can assist you. I will share some of these in a later post.

So what is really going on in my body?
I touched on last week about the Autonomic Nervous System and what are our body’s biochemical responses. I will try not to bore you with too much science, but just to help you understand how your amazing body works, when under stress. This can help you take steps to regain control and calm your system down.
Your central nervous system (CNS) is in charge of your “fight or flight” response. In your brain, the hypothalamus gets the ball rolling, telling your adrenal glands to release the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones rev up your heartbeat and send blood away from some organs and your digestive system ( hello stress and digestive issues!), then it rushes to the areas that need it most in an emergency, such as your muscles, heart, and other important organs.

We often hear a lot about the flight or fight response, when talking about stress, but there is also the Freeze or Flop, response.

What is Freeze or flop? – If we are unable to flee or fight the stressor (especially if it is an emotional experience within us) our bodies begin to shut down and collapse. This can leave you reeling and stuck in a situation you feel hopeless or unable to break out of.
For anyone who is going through or has been through any kind of stress or trauma, then your journey and process through this is deeply personal. These blog posts are not for diagnosis or to replace any kind of therapy or treatment but simply a guide to deeper understanding of what stress actually is, and direct you to better management, either through strategies or resources that can help. For more information or support, speak with your doctor, who can recommend and refer to an appropriate practitioner.

Next week I would love to share with you, just what I personally am doing and how this has helped me through challenging times but for today, I would like to finish with sharing my very simple one minute grounding technique, that like last week’s technique, can be done anywhere, anytime, is almost instant and FREE!
Here’s what you do;
Look around you. Take a deep diaphramic breath. Then;
• Find 5 things you can see
• 4 things you can touch
• 3 things you can hear
• 2 things you can smell
• 1 thing you can taste.
This is called ‘grounding’. It can help you when you feel overwhelmed and you’re losing control of your surroundings. It will bring you back into the present and help you feel in control.

Until next time, stay happy, healthy and grounded x

Image result for free image of grounding

 

STRESS…a blog series on the effects it has on your health

STRESS…what does it look like?
The subject of ‘stress’ is the most consistent topic that comes up in my coaching practice and let’s be honest, with a lot of people everywhere these days. This series of posts I am writing is not only a deeply personal one but one I hope will bring you or someone you know a level of understanding and guidance in the management of this. We all experience it at some point and for many these days, it is constantly simmering away, under the surface and often, you are not even aware of its insidious existence! For others, you may experience a traumatic event in your life, which you can be acutely aware of the role this stress is placing on you.

I am someone who is a HUGE believer in the absolute importance of managing your stress. In fact, I would even goes as far as saying I believe it to be my number 1 health rule! Now this does to mean I am immune to it, and I don’t feel completely Zen and grounded all day every day…not at all. It is a constant working progress but I totally believe that if you don’t make this management a priority and if stress is playing a role in your life, then, the negative impact this has on your health and wellbeing can be significant and no of amount organic quinoa and kale will fix this! I hear a lot from clients, that they are rushed, stressed, exhausted and so on, but yet many are unwilling to address the elephant in the room and make the changes in your life to take back control, so I encourage you to be brave and start the process of positive management, as your health, happiness and wellbeing will thank you in millions for it!

I have shared with you recently that I am going through a deeply personal, traumatic and stressful time in my life. This event has affected me in ways that has been challenging, frustrating and life changing. I am not here to talk about the details of my life, nor am I in a position to share these details, but what I would love to do over this month, is share this series on stress and explore not only the impact it can have on your health, but also share with you tools and resources that have not only helped me, but my clients and friends who have seek my guidance in this area.

One thing I know for sure, is that no matter who, what, where, when or why, stress plays a role in our day to day lives on some level and each situation is unique and each journey through this is personal.

Image result for free image of good stress
GOOD STRESS? Is there such a thing?

Stress is defined by the way your mind and body prepare to successfully meet challenges and demands. It can help you cope with potentially serious situations.
Good stress -gives you energy and focus
– drives you to become more skilled, confident, competent & resilient
BAD STRESS…
Is when we activate our sympathetic nervous system (which is part of our autonomic nervous system) for too long. Our bodies release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which increase your heart and breathing rates and ready your muscles to respond.
Yet if your stress response doesn’t stop firing, and these levels stay elevated far longer than is necessary for survival, it can take a toll on your health. Anything you perceive as any kind of threat to your body or life, will create a defensive reaction of tension in your body and this tension must then be released.

But for today, I want to leave you with this simple strategy that I learnt during my studies, it is called the 4-7-8 breath. This technique, by Dr Andrew Weil, is so simple and can be used wherever and whenever you need it. The best part of all is it is instant and free!
Now I’m not going to say this technique will remove all your stressors or change your life, it is just a coping strategy that you can put in your tool box.
I will explain in more detail in a later post about the importance of diaphramic breathing, but for today, just know that to deeply breath- breathing in, your belly should rise and breathing out your belly goes down, this is diaphramic breathing and something so essential to your health, it’s not funny!

So the technique goes like this;
1. Sit comfortably on a chair or couch or lie down, if possible. Close your eyes and find a position you can be comfortable in, let go of any tension you are feeling.
2. Take 3 deep breaths in and out.
3. Then, through your nose, breathe in for 4 counts. Make sure your belly in going up, not in.( this will activate your diaphragm)
4. Hold your breath for 7 counts.
5. Then exhale, through your mouth slowly for 8 counts, whilst making a whoosh sound.
6. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four rounds.
The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the four rounds. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

Once you develop this breathing technique by practicing it every day, twice a day or more, it will be a very useful tool that you will always have with you. Use it;
• Whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react.
• Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension.
• When you feel overwhelmed.
• Use it to help you fall asleep.
• Use it to deal with food cravings.
• Great for mild to moderate anxiety, this exercise cannot be recommended too highly. Everyone can benefit from it.

“When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath”. ~Svatmarama, Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Over the next few weeks, I will explore and share with you;
• What is the flight or fight response? What is the freeze or flop response?
• The health impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing
• My top 10 stress management techniques
• Stress versus trauma
• Helping a loved one, no matter how young or old, through difficult times
• Resources that will help you with stress management

If you know someone who is going through a stressful time, please feel free to share these posts or have them subscribe to my newsletter.
Until next time, stay happy, healthy and grounded!

Chorizo, Pumpkin and Kale Fritatta

It’s the weekend or your home late from work/activities. You don’t feel like cooking much but you don’t want to eat take away food. This simple and quick frittata takes minutes to prepare, pop in the oven then cook for approx. 20minutes and a delish diner is served….Problem solved!

The good thing about frittata’s is you can make them for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, use almost any vegetables and/or proteins and is always super quick to make. It’s my lazy go to meal and a great way to use up leftover veggies that are lurking in your fridge.

I often buy some chorizo sausages and freeze them individually, so I can just grab one, slice and place in a frittata or even on a pizza. YUM!

This Frittata was inspired by Donna Hay and used leftover roast pumpkin that was in the fridge.

Chorizo, Pumpkin and Kale Fritatta
Print Recipe
The good thing about frittata's is you can make them for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, use almost any vegetables and/or proteins and is always super quick to make. It's my lazy go to meal and a great way to use up leftover veggies that are lurking in your fridge.
Servings Prep Time
4 People 5 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 People 5 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Chorizo, Pumpkin and Kale Fritatta
Print Recipe
The good thing about frittata's is you can make them for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, use almost any vegetables and/or proteins and is always super quick to make. It's my lazy go to meal and a great way to use up leftover veggies that are lurking in your fridge.
Servings Prep Time
4 People 5 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 People 5 minutes
Cook Time
20-25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup diced pumpkin this can be raw or previsouly been roasted.
  • 1 cup Chopped Kale
  • 1/2 Red onion, sliced
  • 1 chorizo sausage, thinnly sliced
  • 6 eggs, whisked use free range and or organic eggs.
  • 1/4 cup Goats feta, crumbled * this is optional
Servings: People
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 C.
  2. Roughly chop all your ingredients and place in an oven proof pan or dish. Whisk your eggs, well and pour over your ingredients in your pan/dish.
  3. Place in hot oven for 20-25 minutes till well cooked through. * to make more, double recipe and you have some breakfast or lunch leftover for next day or 2.
  4. I like to serve mine with a lovely green salad on the side. Simple, delish and nutrish!
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Hangin’ with your peeps!’ Can spending time with your friends, improve your health?

Image result for Free image of girlfriends hanging outCan spending time with your friends, improve your health?….Most definitely! Good friends are good for your health.

The key here, is GOOD friends…More on this later in the post.

Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also:

  • Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
  • Boost your happiness and reduce your stress
  • Improve your self-confidence and self-worth
  • Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss, the death of a loved one, etc.
  • Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits.

I am blessed to have some truly wonderful friendships in my life and last weekend, I had the pleasure of a weekend away with two of my closest. I wrote recently about the huge amount of stress I have been under, so you could only imagine how much I was looking forward to this weekend, not only a break from this, but to get away from the Groundhog Day and responsibilities of life, even though I love my family to bits, we all need a break sometimes, don’t we? But to just hang out with these amazing women who LOVE a chat and truly accept each other, for who we are.

And it didn’t disappoint!

We visited Daylesford (Victoria) which is a perfect place to sit around a warm cosy house, in your most comfortable clothes (ie; PJ’s) and chat, discuss, analyize, laugh, chat and discuss some more, all this over some slow grazing yummy food and a glass or three of wine…. You get the picture?Image result for Free image of girlfriends hanging out

Now don’t get me wrong, I accept that this is not everyone’s cup of tea, sitting around talking all weekend but my point is just hanging out with your ‘peeps’, just being you in a relaxed and positive environment, can only be good for the soul, no matter where or what you are doing.

If you have ever read the book and research about the ‘Blue Zones’, by Dan Buettner and the National Geographic, (you can watch his TED talk here) which explored the healthiest, oldest living communities in the world, then the research tells us that not only diet and exercise play a role in longevity, but human connections and lifestyle was just as important, if not the most important. This is what, in my practice I call primary foods.

Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.

Put simply, Friendships and human connections enrich your life and improve your health.

But we can also have negative friendships and relationships. These relationships have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing. You need to acknowledge who these people are in your lives and either find ways to place boundaries or choose to walk away from them, if you can. I focus on these very things in my coaching practice, guiding you to find ways to implement boundaries, where and when needed.

But for now, for me, I feel rejuvenated, not only for a relaxing weekend away, but to spend quality time with some of my girlfriends. I know that in our busy, hectic lives, you often put these ‘catch up’s’ whether it’s just a coffee, dinner, weekend away or whatever it is, on hold or the back burner. But if you have close friends or loved ones in your life and ‘busy’ is the reason why you’re not spending time with them,  then you owe it to yourself and your health to connect, it doesn’t have to be a weekend away, just spend time and hang with your ‘peeps’!

I’m sure glad I did!

Tell me how do you like spending time with your closest friends? Or is your busy life getting in the way of this?

Hearty Sausage, Bean and Vegetable Soup

It’s still winter here in Melbourne and although a little sunshine is appearing this week, as the cold night air sets in, I’m still looking for comfort food and this hearty winter soup, certainly fit the bill.

It’s a hearty, warming,  filling meal in a bowl and full of nutritious ingredients. The best part is it also economical and super quick to make. Ticks all round!

 

Hearty Sausage, Bean and Vegetable Soup
Print Recipe
It's a hearty, warming,  filling meal in a bowl and full of nutritious ingredients. The best part is it also economical and quick to make. Ticks all round!
Servings Prep Time
4 People 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 People 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Hearty Sausage, Bean and Vegetable Soup
Print Recipe
It's a hearty, warming,  filling meal in a bowl and full of nutritious ingredients. The best part is it also economical and quick to make. Ticks all round!
Servings Prep Time
4 People 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 People 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 Good quality Pork sausages
  • 1 Brown Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 parsnip, finely diced
  • 1 turnip, finely diced
  • 1 can Cannellini Beans, well drained & rinsed
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, grated
  • 1 litre quality chicken stock
  • 1 Tbs Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 stalks of Silver beet or Kale, finely sliced
Servings: People
Instructions
  1. Slice and dice up all your vegetables. In a saucepan, heat your oil and sauté your onion and fennel, till soften. Add in your crushed garlic and lightly fry.
  2. Once your onion, fennel and garlic are lightly cooked, add in your chicken stock and tomato paste. Stir well and bring to the boil.
  3. Add in all vegetables, except your sliver beet or kale. Simmer for 15 minutes till tender.
  4. Grab your sausages, remove the casing and add in small pieces of sausage to your soup mix. It will look like little meatballs. Add in your well drained and rinsed tin of cannellini beans. Cook for a further few minutes, then add in your sliver beet/kale for another 3-5minutes. Season if required. Serve! It's that simple.
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