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

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