By Robyn Youkilis 28 February 2018
I created my Good Gut Rule of Five to show you exactly what to put on your plate at lunch and dinner. Eating in this way will ensure that you are getting a balance of both macro- and micronutrients, as well as my favorite gut-healing superfoods (which I talk about more in my book, Thin From Within). Aim to include one ingredient from each of the five categories that follow for a complete and balanced meal:
Kale, collards, arugula, spinach, lettuce...I love ’em all. Aim to have at least two or three big handfuls of greens with most meals. Greens do it all when it comes to gut health and weight loss: They are packed with fiber, which helps fill you up and keep you regular. Plus, leafy green veggies are some of the most nutrient-dense foods, and when you are filling your cells with nutrients (I mean real nutrition, not just calories!), you have more energy and fewer cravings.
2. Healthy fat:
Avocado, olive and flax oils, almonds, butter from grass-fed cows (so the cows have healthy guts too!), and coconut oil all count here. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil, 1 to 2 ounces of nuts, or ¼ to ½ of an avocado at each meal for a good dose of flavor and satiation. Plus, fats are essential for proper absorption of most vitamins and minerals. I used to be terrified of fats, but now I include them at every meal and am lighter than I’ve ever been.
Wild salmon, grass-fed beef, organic chicken, tempeh, sprouted lentils, and canned wild sardines are some examples of great go-to protein options. Protein keeps you full and stabilizes your blood sugar, so you won’t keep dipping into your raw chocolate stash or crash halfway through your afternoon meetings.
4. Fermented food:
Including fermented foods on your plate is the good-gut secret to weight loss through a healthy microbiome (you need all that great bacteria throughout the day to keep your digestion humming!). Examples include raw sauerkraut, fermented beets, fermented carrots or radishes, and kimchi. Try adding 1 to 3 tablespoons at each meal, and feel free to work your way up to ½ cup or more. If you’re not used to the flavor of fermented veggies, try mixing them with avocado to mellow the flavor.
5. Cooked vegetables:
Having a cooked veggie or two with my meal (in addition to greens) always makes the meal feel more grounding and filling. Roasted zucchini, broccoli, sweet potatoes, squash, and carrots are all examples of delicious cooked veggies, but this can really be any veggie. I try to roast a bunch of seasonal veggies at least once or twice per week so I always have some cooked veggies on hand and ready to go. If you’re on the run, many takeout spots and fancy restaurants have awesome veggie choices these days.
Clemens Arvay, MSc
19 February 2018
New research, like the Journal of Adolescent Health study that found that teens who have more access to green space tend to be happier, continues to reinforce the idea that humans are intricately connected to the natural environment. Our entire body is constantly communicating and acting in tandem with our surroundings. But how can something as simple as spending time outside possibly make us healthier? Let's dive into the science.
The real reason being outside is so healing.
The Japanese tradition of Shinrin-yoku, "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing," is proof of concept. In this case, the term "bathing" does not mean swimming in some sort of wooded lake. Instead, it's about diving into a forest with all of our senses. In 1982, the National Forest Authorities of Japan suggested advertising Shinrin-yoku to the public and promoting its immune-boosting powers. And today, taking in the forest atmosphere is officially a recognized method of preventing disease and supplementing treatment in the country. The National Institute of Public Health of Japan promotes Shinrin-yoku, universities study it, and hospitals use it as an Rx.
When you breathe in the woods, you are inhaling a cocktail of bioactive substances released by plants. One of these groups of substances is called terpenes. They're usually emitted from leaves, pine needles, tree trunks, and the thick bark of some trees. We absorb these gaseous terpenes partially through our skin, but especially through the lungs. Terpenes also flow out of bushes, herbs, and shrubs among the understory, along with mushrooms, mosses, and ferns, too. Even thin layers of foliage on the forest floor emit them. So, safe to say, if you're outside and can see any sort of tree material, you're getting a dose of terpenes.
While forest medicine is under no circumstances a replacement for conventional medical check-ups, scientific studies have discovered the forest air is like an old friend to our bodies. Some of these terpenes have been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorigenic, and neuroprotective activities, making forest air like a healing elixir we inhale. Even though terpenes come from trees, mushrooms, and herbs that are communicating with one another, our immune system can also decode them. Like other plants, we respond to terpenes by strengthening our body's defenses. Doctors of forest medicine know that anti-cancer terpenes have a direct impact on the immune system as well as an indirect impact on the endocrine system. For example, they help us deal with stress by lowering our cortisol levels.
Forest bathing has also been found to enhance something called natural killer cells, another defense against diseases like cancer. Those who spend merely one day in the forest will have more natural killer cells in their blood for seven days thereafter. Those who are in the woods for two or three days have elevated levels for another 30 days. It's incredible to think that we get these long-lasting health benefits simply by existing in the woods. We don't have to go on a trail run or rigorous hike (though those things are great too); just breathing and being in communion with trees is enough.
This knowledge totally changed the way I look at nature. Now, when I walk through the woods, I feel like I’m diving into an enormous living organism. I'm becoming a part of it, and we're breathing and communicating together.
Practical ways to make your next trip into the forest even more fulfilling:
1. The content of the anti-cancer terpenes in the forest air changes over the seasons. The highest concentration is in summer, and the lowest is in winter. They increase rapidly in April and May and reach their peak in June and August. Try to go out during these months if you can!
2. You can find the highest concentration of terpenes in the middle of the forest since tree population is the densest there. This dense canopy prevents gaseous terpenes from escaping too. Try to go farther into the woods instead of lingering on the edges when you can.
3. When the air is moist—after rain or during fog, for example—a particularly large amount of healthy terpenes will be swirling around the atmosphere. So if you've ever felt especially great during a walk in the woods after a rain shower, you're not alone!
Inspired by fresh new ideas for breakfast from Carla Oates's cookbook The Beauty Chef.
This lovely dish is made with black rice, the only rice that contains anti-inflammatory anthocyanins, and mango, which is rich in digestive enzymes.
1/2 cup black glutinous rice, soaked in cold water overnight
11/2 cups water
2/3 cup coconut cream
large pinch of Himalayan salt
11/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 ripe mango, cut into cubes
6 strawberries, sliced
Drain & rinse the rice.
Place the rice & water in a medium saucepan & bring to the boil. Decrease the heat to the lowest possible temperature. Gently simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, cover & set aside for 10 minutes, to finish cooking.
Meanwhile, gently simmer the coconut cream & salt together for 2-3 minutes, until thickened slightly. Set aside.
Once the rice is cooked, add the maple syrup & stir to combine. Set aside to cool slightly.
Serve the sticky rice warm or at room temperature drizzled with the salted coconut cream & topped with fresh mango & strawberries.
I didn't have a few of the ingredients in house, so I swapped out a few goodies. I mixed in a heaped teaspoon of coconut oil into the warm rice then added kelp salt & maple syrup, & served with organic natural yoghurt, fresh cherries, peach & blueberries and still absolute deliciousness! Perfect start to a sunny day.
Essentials for a fabulous summer holiday - Manduka's eKO SuperLite Travel Yoga Mat, the great outdoors, hat, swimsuit, water bottle, sunblock & towel!
Gift for your beautiful self, or family & friends.
Exceptional for traveling – folds to fit in any travel bag.
Surface texture offers superior grip, even with light perspiration.
Tightly woven scrim resists tearing or stretching.
Closed cell design will not absorb bacteria.
Made from non-Amazon harvested, natural tree rubber.
No PVC, toxic plasticizers or harmful dyes.
99% latex free, weight 1kg.
Two colours - Midnight Blue & Thunder Grey NZ$85
Go to Shop / Yoga Mats
Here are a couple of exerts:
Movement isn't only affecting your arms, legs, and abs; through a process called mechano-transduction, movement influences the behaviour of your cells.
We are currently experiencing unprecedented sedentarism.
There are local effects of movement, as well as systemic.
Within an active body you can have cellular sedentarism ie running with supportive shoes (your feet have restricted movement), having smoothies & juices instead of chewing whole foods (there is minimal movement of the muscles of the jaw, tongue & face).
The key to increasing our personal movement lies in understanding how movement works & expanding our thoughts & actions away from exercise & towards a movement-rich life.
Katy Bowman has a live event this weekend in Wellington, followed by events in Nelson & Auckland before she heads back home to the States. For more details check out Katy's live events at https://nutritiousmovement.pike13.com/categories/64332
Come join the creator of YogAlign & FitAlign, Michaelle Edwards for a 2 day workshop "Change Your Posture, Change Your Life" here in Tauranga, New Zealand.
Open to anyone interested in posture education including yoga practitioners & instructors, physical & massage therapists, movement & fitness instructors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, & wellness practitioners.
Michaelle Edward's will be over from Kauai, Hawaii for the 12 hour immersion workshop Sat 2 & Sun 3 Dec, 9am - 4pm (if you can only attend one day please email me for details, thanks Leonie).
Learn the unique YogAlign self-care program with breath based neuromuscular realignment techniques. Create balance, strength & agility using safe, comfortable & functional poses & exercises. Aligned posture, deep core strength, alleviation of chronic pain & anxiety, & an increase in beneficial hormone levels.
This course is suitable for all ages & fitness levels.
Venue: Ohauiti Settlers Hall, 459 Ohauiti Road, RD3, Ohauiti, Tauranga
Cost: NZ$275 (US$200) for the 2 day workshop
For Registration & Payment: www.yogalign.com - Workshops & Retreats
Breathing is an extraordinary event. Not only does it bring oxygen to your cells, but also gives your organs, endocrine system & inner connective tissue a massage from the inside out with every breath.
YogaAlign's breathing exercises are designed to help you fully awaken, supercharge & recode your breath & posture at the nervous system level.
When you breathe in, try moving the ribs out in all directions as though you are inflating a balloon. As you inhale your outer rib muscles pull the ribs apart as your diaphragm contracts downwards, creating more space in the chest area & allowing the lungs to expand & fill with air.
As you exhale, notice the internal intercostal muscles pulling the ribs back together, while the outer muscles of the abdomen & waist area contract & press the air out.
Take a few moments each day to ground yourself with a few deep breaths, toning, lengthening & strengthening.