Healthy living it’s a choice

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A healthy lifestyle not only changes your body – it changes your mind, your attitude, your mindset, your mood. It definitely changed my life when I made the choice to live my life on my own (healthy) terms. What is your choice? 🙂

With lots of love,

Laia

What’s the big deal about skin?

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My partner, who reads all my post (or at least I want to believe it!) suggested last week to write about the skin to complement my post about what we put in our skin. What a lovely he is! As I’m very interested in how we look after our skin, I think it’s appropriate to stop and have a look at our largest organ to better understand what the big deal about it is.

The Oxford dictionary says that “the skin is the thin layer of tissue forming the natural outer covering of the body of a person or animal”. What does this mean? Well, basically skin protects us from the microbes and the elements that are in the air – it’s our first line of defense.

It’s the largest organ of the body as well as the largest organ of detoxification so it’s important to look after it from the outside as well as to incorporate proper diet. Our body works as a system where every function is connected so nutrition also plays an important role on how we feel in the inside and we look in the outside. Great skin starts from within – when we feel good in the inside we look good in the outside. Would you agree?

Being our protective covering, our first barrier to fight illness and disease, you would think we all care about it, right? Well, the issue is that it’s easy to take skin for granted. I sometimes get a complement about my face skin: “You have a great skin”, they say. Well, let me share with you something: the difference between neglected and pampered skin is incredible. So ask yourself: how am I treating my skin? What do I put on it? And you might have an answer on why your skin is (or not) looking so good…

To make things simple: healthy skin is vital for us, both emotionally and physically. What we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our body. Both affect the wellbeing of our entire body so next time you cover yourself on body lotion, remember that your skin absorbs a large percentage of what you put on it.

Did you know how much we rely on our skin?

  • The skin defends us from a range of harmful things each day. Think of all the germs and particles that are in the air. In addition, skin is a protective barrier that helps preserve our internal fluids and organs.
  • Clean pores enable our body to expel waste so keeping your pores clean provides a clear exit strategy for all kinds of nasty toxins that accumulate in our bodies.
  • Our skin provides the first signal to our brain that we’re being hurt or in pain. This signal helps us react quickly to prevent a worse injury.
  • The skin is an indicator for our overall health. Early warning signs of many diseases manifest themselves on the skin.
  • Vitamin D is vital to our immune system. With proper sun exposure, skin plays a large role in manufacturing Vitamin D.
  • Skin is the body’s natural heating and air conditioning system. It helps regulate body temperature and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold.
  • Harsh chemicals, soaps and skin care products that reduce our bodies’ natural protective oils demolish our natural defense strategy.
  • Touch is one the most meaningful ways we connect to other people. Our skin allows us to experience pleasure through touch.

Also, don’t forget appearance: so much of how we feel about ourselves is wrapped up in the way we look.

I hope you are getting a sense of how important it is to look after ourselves and our skin by giving it what it needs. Next time you have to choose a personal or skin care product, be conscious on what you are selecting. A good start would be avoiding nasty chemicals on your skin and eating healthy – you’ll feel the difference!

With lots of love,

Laia x

Photo on VisualHunt

Do you know what are you putting on your body?

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Following up on my last post on how to identify toxins in your foods, I’ve decided to write a little bit about my own experience with personal care and beauty products. Why? Because my choice of healthy living is from the inside out, so what I put on my skin matters as much as what I eat.

Did you know that:

  • Cosmetics is a self-regulating industry? The people who create the commercial products used every day are who determine if the product and the chemicals contained within them are safe.
  • This means that chemicals are used in cosmetics (skin, hair, beauty, personal, baby, oral) on the basis that they are safe till the opposite is demonstrated?
  • Your skin will absorb chemicals 10 times faster than by way of ingestion because the skin doesn’t have a digestive system or the liver detoxifying process to break the chemicals down
  • The average person puts over 200+ chemicals on their skin every day? 65% of these chemicals are absorbed into the body.

This is something I learnt not long ago, and most people I talk to these days don’t know either. I remember my mum telling me what to buy for my personal and skin care… and I used to ignore her. When she told me to stop using certain brands because of their ingredients, I ignored her. Till one day someone else told me about it, and then it clicked and I realised what I was doing to my body.

An example someone gave once: have you ever received a topical prescription from a doctor, such as an anti-fungal or anti-bacterial cream? Or used a topical pain reliever for a mouth sore (or for your baby’s teething)? What about a birth control patch that slowly releases hormones? Why do these products work so well when applied to our skin, rather than taken orally? Well, I know why now… our skin readily absorbs chemicals and other substances deeper into our body– through our skin layers, into muscles and fat, and ultimately into our bloodstream and organs.

Another example: Make up. It doesn’t just hover around on the outer layer of your skin until you remove it at night – it penetrates deeper and deeper into your body throughout the day.

Scary, hey? Well, I thought it was scary. There is so much information available around about nutrition and skin & personal care products ingredients that can cause cancer and other illnesses that it’s frightening and confusing, to say the least.

So I decided to look for a botanically based safe option (which by the way, I love). But I didn’t stop there – I then starting investigating which are those ingredients that I should be avoiding in personal care products to make sure every time I buy a new product I’m not making the wrong choice. I can’t always buy natural and organic products to be honest, but I like checking that the products I buy aren’t harmful. One thing I discovered is within my powers is not buying nasty, chemical filled products till I can afford or have access to organic, vegan and botanical based ones (and for me is also a must to avoid products that are tested in animals).

Different sources name different ingredients, but there are some that consistently repeat across my  ‘to avoid’ lists and I’d like to share them with you:

  • Synthetic colours
  • Parabens
  • Synthetic fragrances
  • Aluminium
  • Synthetic dyes
  • Petroleum based ingredients: benzene, petrolatum, phthalates and toluene
  • Mineral oil
  • PABA
  • Triclosan
  • Hydroquinone
  • Formaldehyde-donating preservatives
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
  • Sunscreen chemicals
  • DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine)

Do you feel a little bit overwhelmed with all this information? I did when I started researching it and my first thought was: “I need to get rid of all my cosmetics and replace them for a safe option!”. The reality is that I would be broke if I tried to suddenly replace all of my beauty care products at once. So my first step was to pick the one or two range products I was most concerned about: skincare and makeup.

I replaced my whole range of facial moisturisers and make up, plus my deodorant, for a brand I knew was botanically based, vegan, result driven and PETA certified. That was a great choice and I have to admit that I feel confident that I’m now using a safe product on my body. Actually, I’m totally in love with the makeup range! Even people at work could see the difference when I did the shift, so I knew that besides putting a healthy product on my skin, the results were visible.

So, if you are not comfortable with the products you are currently using, research some better brands or, if you have time, you could even consider making your own replacement – there are lots of recipes online.

Once you’ve found a replacement that you’re happy with, decide what you might like to replace to start with. One at a time, little by little, you will slowly transform your beauty care routine into a non-toxic, pampering affair. Because – as I keep repeating in every post- you are your most precious asset – look after and treat yourself with love and care and enhance your healthy living from the inside out.

With lots of love,

Laia x

Clean eating: How to identify toxic foods in your pantry

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“A healthy outside starts from the inside” – Robert Urich

Today I’d like to talk about clean eating and how to spot toxic foods in your food cupboard. Why? Because we are what we eat. In the same way we look after our body through exercise we also need to look after it internally through what we fuel it with – your body is your most precious asset.

I got introduced to clean eating while being a child (back then, I didn’t know the term was clean eating, though). My mum always made sure we ate a balanced and healthy diet. Actually, few years ago she started researching nutrition and alkaline foods. Now I can say that she has one of the healthiest (and most balanced) lifestyles I’ve ever seen. I truly believe this is one of the reasons why she is doing so well going through her cancer treatment and chemo – her body is responding to the treatment better than most people and I’m 100% sure it’s due to all the prep she did without knowing it before getting sick. Now, as you can imagine, nutrition is a priority for her.

Why clean eating?

Clean eating allows you to take control of what you put into your body to fuel it. High-quality, whole and ideally organic foods replace those covered in toxins, pesticides, engineered or food produced in massive factories.

Clean eating isn’t a diet, it’s a life-style choice. It emphasises the quality of the foods you eat, not how much you eat or when you eat. Actually, long before the days of processed foods, pesticides, hormones and GMOs, people ate food directly from the source with minimal processing. Not so long ago – for example, my grandparents used to have a vegie and trees garden (my dad’s parents) and animals (my mum’s parents). They produced the food the consumed: vegetables, fruits, cheese, meat, etc.

The highly-processed foods that are in the shelves of your local grocery store or supermarket are loaded with calories, added sugars and ingredients that most of us can’t pronounce (and lack many beneficial nutrients). These foods are linked to obesity, low-energy levels and an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and in some cases, cancer. Many of these low-quality foods are also treated with pesticides or contain genetically modified ingredients, both of which carry potential health risks. And don’t forget the significant environmental toll.

Clean eating nurtures your body with healthy and nutritious foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed and hormone-free meats, etc. Consistently eating clean food fills your body with vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein and healthy fats. That means that it improves heart and brain health, assist with weight management, build a stronger immune system and increase energy levels – just to name some of the benefits.

The first thing I noticed when I started eating clean was that my energy levels went up! I always thought I eat healthy but still had lots of foods that weren’t ideal such as pasta, processed meats, coffee, dairy, alcohol, etc. When I decided to try a month of clean eating I knew it was a good choice but had no idea of the amazing change that my body was going to experiment! I felt more energetic, with clear mind, my afternoon tiredness after lunch disappeared, etc. I loved it!

How do you eat clean?

Let’s have a look at a few things you can do to make your transition to clean eating as easy as possible and how to identify what are those foods you need to get rid of your pantry:

  1. Assess your pantry (and fridge) and eliminate all foods that don’t serve your body. When I did my 30 day clean eating for the first time, I started by eliminating most of the packaged food such as chips, crackers, sauces, biscuits, etc., and all processed foods – they can be full of preservatives and chemicals that are not good at all.
  2. Spend most of your time at the supermarket filling your trolley with fruits and vegetables. If you can afford organic foods —especially meat, fruits and vegetables— go for it.
  3. Make sure you know what you are buying. Read food labels, check the ingredient list and avoid any product with ingredients that you’re not familiarised with or can’t pronounce. The fewer the ingredients, the better. Also, check for added sugars listed under carbohydrates.
  4. Cook your own food. For example, pasta sauce normally has lots of added sugar. Why don’t you make your own pasta sauce at home? It’s very easy and in this way you know what you are eating. The same works for your smoothies, bread, etc. – everything really.

I decided to take a further step and eliminated any product that contained dairy, gluten and GMOs from my pantry (and also alcohol and coffee for a full month!). I have to be real – it wasn’t always easy and sometimes I made exceptions: it’s very difficult to eat clean when you go out! However, setting up healthy (and clean) nutrition habits is the best choice I’ve ever made. Now, when I’m off track my body feels it straight away, so I try to be caring and loving to my body and give it what I know it needs.

The result of my 4 weeks detox thorugh eat cleaning was very positive. During my first week I felt tired (normal effect while your body is eliminating toxins) and then I started feeling more energetic, healthier and happier, and I even lost a little bit of weight that wasn’t planned. I loved it so much that told my partner that I was going to carry on eating clean and avoiding certain products such as milk and coffee and reduce my alcohol consumption to a minimum. Now we both make an effort when cooking to make sure we cook whole clean meals full of nutrients with those ingredients that fuel our bodies.

Before I say goodbye, I want to make clear that clean eating is not a strategy for losing weight. It’s a lifestyle choice that can help with the weight lose. However, plenty of foods that are considered clean are high in calories and don’t help shed extra fat so if what you want is to lose weight you need to eat clean and make sure you are eating the food that is right for your goal.

With lots of love,

Laia x

The energy you surround yourself with

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“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn

Today I’d like to share with you a recent experience that reminded me of the importance of who you surround yourself with.

Not long ago I was dealing with high stress levels and a work environment that wasn’t ideal as I felt too much negativity around me. As circumstances changed, things improved and once I moved on (left the job) I started feeling balanced again. Actually, I’ve been feeling better than ever since the year started: I left the corporate world full time, started my healthy living program and my energy levels went up, I started my own venture, I’m about to get married, etc. I’m feeling balanced and content so couldn’t ask for more!

We have also had family visiting us which is always lovely. Yes, it can be challenging as your routines change and you lose your own space for few days but it’s still great, you just need to do a small adjustment for a little while. This time we had a new guest from outside the family that we didn’t know and I was looking forward to it. However, as soon as I met her I could feel like someone was taking all my energy. After the first day I was exhausted and my energy levels considerably dropped. I’m sure she is doing the best she can to adjust to her partner’s family but it didn’t feel right at all. We were all exhausted after few days travelling together and I ended being sick as my body somatise all the negativity around me.

The bad news is that sometimes you can’t choose who you surround yourself with (family, for example), but the great news is that 99% of the time you make the choice! People have a huge impact on your life, therefore, with this in mind, you should think about the people you’re spending time with the same way you think about what you eat and how you’re exercising. This is also part of your healthy living plan.

Some people can be ‘parasites’. They suck out your energy and happiness, they spread their negative vibe around with all the consequences that this has for your own well-being. So… why would you surround yourself of those kind of people? It’s LOTS better to surround yourself by positive and energetic people! Ask yourself: what makes someone a “good” person to spend time with? And what are the benefits of surrounding yourself with these people?

The good people I’m looking for are positive, happy people that enrich my life. They can be family members, friends, co-workers or acquaintances I meet at networking events or at the train. They inspire me to be a better person, motivate me to achieve my goals, empower me to make the changes I need to succeed and cheer on my success. They have this amazing energy you feel attracted to straight away.

Why do I want to surround myself with this kind of people? Because my personal and professional success depends on it – success doesn’t occur in a vacuum and your personal improvement leading up to your success can be driven by the people you surround yourself with. I would actually say that one of the most important decisions we make in life is who we choose to be around.

If you look around, we live in a world that surrounds us with negativity. We get it regularly from media and other sources: co-workers, bosses, friends, family and even strangers – have you ever had someone you don’t know to have a go at you for no reason? No worries, it’s not about you, it’s about them. But they spread their negativity around. Then, it’s very important to learn how to filter out the negativity (I know, it’s not easy but you can do it!).

So, what to do? Walk away from those people in your life who drain you of your energy because they thrive on sharing their own negative vibe. Get as far away from them as you can. Why? Because it impacts your perspective with regard to your own life and -in addition- impacts your mental health.

Instead, why not to decide to invest your time in those relationships that give you joy, energy, empowerment and positive vibes. Like attracts like so if you give off positive vibes and confidence and you are genuine, you’ll attract the same into your life. This will lead you to the people that are right for you.

When you’re surrounded by good people, you’re surrounded by life. You’ll be less stressed and find more joy in your daily life. Make a commitment to start spending more time with the good people in your life and make it count.

“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.” – Karl Marx

With lots of love,

Laia x

What wellness habits work for you in your daily life?

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“To change your life, change your habits”

We live surrounded by information. Every person we know, social media and other communication channel have some advice to give us: keep active, do exercise, eat healthy, meditate, be positive, and so on. It never ends… it’s like the wonderful world of being a new mum. Everyone that surrounds you will have something to tell you about how to look after your baby or bring up your kids. And I truly know that all of them have the best of intentions, they want to help. But I also know that every person is different and what works for me might not work for you and vice versa.

When we decide to improve certain routines or daily habits (basically, when we decide to improve the way we live our life) we end up listening to too many people and might end up feeling overwhelmed. We sometimes try to do too much and stop enjoying along the process, which I’d say it’s not ideal.

This is how I was feeling a short time ago. Being in a moment of huge change in my life I was feeling excited, so the first thing I did when I decided to push myself to the next level was to surround myself with lots of information related to what I wanted to do next. I read, listen to podcasts, joined meet up groups, etc. In addition, social media now knows what you are interested in so kept putting in front of me lots of Facebook groups, webinars, workshops, etc. Many of which I happily jumped on to without realising what I was getting myself into.

Don’t get me wrong, every single group had something to offer and I loved them, but I ended up spending too much time on social media. I moved from hardly being on Facebook (just for holiday pictures posting and a little bit more) to using social media to empower my new venture. And then… all these other groups. My notifications started growing and I wanted to be on top of everything because I wanted to grow and learn. But at some point I realised it was just too much: every information channel has its own peculiarities and its own way to do things, and when you are like me (the perfectionist type) you want to be on top of everything and try every single technique you are taught.

Let’s be real – it’s impossible! I started feeling overwhelmed and didn’t want to spend so much time doing multiple things without being able to focus in one thing properly. Then, something clicked and I told myself: “let’s focus in doing less things right and make things easier for yourself”. And I started doing it and things started to shift (still work in progress though).

So I decided to focus on my wellness and those healthy habits that are non-negotiable to keep moving forward. My daily routines help me to feel structured and fulfilled knowing that I do the best I can every day. Some of my daily routines are:

  • Surround myself with positive and like-minded people
  • Clean eating
  • Get enough sleep
  • Reading
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Moment of gratitude
  • Journaling
  • Yoga classes
  • Walking 10,000 steps every day (preferably walking in One Tree Hill park)
  • Colouring (slowly going back into it)
  • Checking on my mindset and attitude
  • High intensity exercise once or twice a week in addition to yoga and walking
  • Working hard and smart
  • Petting my cat Oskar
  • Be loving to my partner and friends
  • Hugging
  • Be present
  • Be gentle to your body

Others that I find awesome to incorporate as a wellness daily habits are:

  • Laugh: the mere action of laughing releases endorphins
  • Get some sun
  • Invest 30 minutes doing something you enjoy and find relaxing
  • Talk to someone you love
  • Leave your comfort zone daily
  • Enjoy a sunset or sunrise
  • Make social connections
  • Drink water
  • Smile, etc.

What’s important is that you find what works for you and incorporate it in your daily life. For my sister-in-law cooking is her relaxing activity, for me is reading. What works for you? Let’s keep up the good habits and be gentle to our souls!

With lots of love,

Laia x

Healthy living from the inside out

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Hi everyone, good morning from the Goal Coast! I came here to attend a Conference but didn’t want to miss my post for today so wrote it on my way here (OMG, what an early flight I took!) 🙂

Today I’d like to share my recent experience cleansing my body. Actually, it’s my first time doing a detox and I couldn’t be happier!

Why did I decide to do a detox?

  • The end of the year (2017) was chaotic! I know, not just for me, for everyone. It’s that time of the year when everyone has company functions, you want to catch up with all your friends before Christmas, etc. Around mid-November I was already feeling super bloated! So I said to myself “I do need to do something!”. At this stage I didn’t have an answer for it…
  • In parallel, I started my new health and wellness venture on the side. Initially I decided to start promoting skin & personal care and makeup, products that I was already using and knew well. We also have a nutrition range but I decided to leave it out of the equation for now as I wanted to focus on those products I already knew (and I knew they are amazing).
  • Mid-December I was feeling worst than ever so following other consultants’ advice (whom were amazed by the results of the 30 Days Healthy Living Program) I decided to give it a go and joined the program starting 1 January.
  • On the 29 December I got sick and spent two days without being able to eat due a gastroenteritis. That was my body telling me something wasn’t rights… and I knew then that I had made the right decision.

So, going into the unknown, I found out that the 30 Days Healthy Living Program & Beyond is not just a 30 day detox, it’s a change in your lifestyle, something that you’ll take with you forever. It’s not a diet (you don’t count calories nor starve yourself), it’s a program where you learn about:

  • Whole foods
  • Clean eating
  • What are toxins and GMOs
  • What are the most allergenic/toxic/addictive ingredients from your diet (refined sugar, dairy, gluten, soy, etc.)
  • How to increase your nutritional intake
  • How to effectively remove toxins from your body
  • How to reintroduce certain foods back into your diet after the 30 day plan is completed to see if you do have intolerances

Putting aside the supplements the program includes (which provide extra nutrients that I cannot get enough of through our diet alone and make my life lots easier – for example through the meal replacement shake for breakfast, or the protein shake for those who like having one when they exercise), all the information provided in the program was just brilliant. It isn’t a lose weight program, it’s a healthy way of living 🙂

Actually, I’d say that most of us know how important is our nutrition but I also think people just don’t have the time or the energy to plan meals and move to a healthier lifestyle. Well, let me tell you something: on my second week of eating clean my energy levels started going up and I felt amazing – so no excuses! 🙂 And as per the time… I’ve always said that we do make time for those things that are a priority for us… and I decided that my health was a priority.

Also, I believe that life put situations in front of us to teach us, and if we don’t learn, life will carry on putting in front of us the same challenges. Some time ago, although I knew how important is what we put IN and ON our body (my mum made sure I was aware of that), it wasn’t till I experienced two close family members being sick (serious illness) that I started reconsidering what I really wanted out of life, including what I put in and on my body. My priorities changed and I started making shifts in my life, including my nutrition and anything I put on my body. I have to confess I used to be one of those people who buys the cheapest moisturiser or face cream at the supermarket – products full of nasty stuff.

Then, I realised it – I had had all the information I needed in front of me, I was just not ready to listen to it and take action. Slowly I started moving into a healthier me, first through natural cosmetics and body care, and finally discovering the world of eating clean – which I’m super excited about and proud of myself.

The results speak by themselves: in 30 days of consistent clean eating, no alcohol, coffee, dairy, gluten and other toxic foods, I’ve been able to cut fat and bloating (see my new me in the right! 🙂 ). It might not seem that noticeable but I definitely see the difference in my tummy (-3cm), waist (-2cm), arms (-1cm), and most importantly, I feel AWESOME & healthier than ever. My energy levels are up, as they have not been for years!

I also complemented the clean eating with yoga classes three times a week, a minimum of 10,000 steps a day (I was well over them most of the days), and introduced one high intensity class a week for the last two weeks.

Living a healthy life from the inside out has become a priority for me. It’s about looking after yourself, from the inside out: your body, your mind. And NUTRITION is key! And no, I didn’t starve myself at all – this is not about counting calories and eating less, it’s about giving your body what fuels it.

The beginning of the year is a good moment to take action and make those changes you know will improve your lifestyle! Look after yourself, you are your most precious treasure 🙂

With lots of love,

Laia x