The Major Benefits Of Yoga For Your Overall Health

I have a great post today about yoga. Yoga is something I’ve always been meaning to do more of. I do do some stretching but nothing really “proper” I guess. There are so many benefits so I really should make more time.

There are many reasons why people choose to do yoga. Some people do it for exercise, some for relaxation, and others to increase flexibility. But whatever your reason may be, there are countless benefits to doing yoga regularly.

Yoga Can Help To Improve Your Flexibility

One of the most common reasons people start doing yoga is to improve their flexibility. And it’s no wonder why! After just a few classes, you will notice a difference in your range of motion and how much easier it is to do everyday tasks.

Yoga helps to lengthen and stretch your muscles, which can prevent pain and injuries in the future. It also helps with circulation and can even improve your posture. Regular yoga classes can do wonders for your back and neck pain if you sit at a desk all day or spend hours hunched over your phone.

Photo by Chevanon Photography

Yoga Can Help To Reduce Stress And Anxiety

Yoga is an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. In one study, it was found that yoga can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders. In another study, it was found that yoga can help to reduce the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

There are several different ways in which yoga can help to reduce stress and anxiety. One way is by helping to improve the functioning of the nervous system. Yoga helps to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and digestion functions. This can help to decrease the levels of cortisol in the body.

Another way in which yoga can help to reduce stress and anxiety is by helping to improve sleep quality. Poor sleep quality is a significant contributor to stress and anxiety. Yoga can help to enhance the quality of sleep by helping to regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

Yoga can also help to improve mental well-being. In one study, it was found that yoga can help to reduce depression. In another study, it was found that yoga can help to improve mood and reduce stress.

Yoga Can Help To Improve Your Strength And Endurance

Yoga is not just for people who are looking to improve their flexibility. It is also a great way to build strength and endurance. If you are looking to improve your strength and endurance, then yoga is an excellent option for you. There are a variety of different yoga poses that can help you to improve your strength and endurance and you can learn more by looking at the yoga certifications available.

Some of the best yoga poses for improving your strength and endurance include:

– Downward Dog

– Warrior I

– Warrior II

– Triangle Pose

– Camel Pose

– Half Moon Pose

All of these yoga poses are designed to help you build muscle and improve your stamina. If you commit to doing a few of these poses regularly, you will see a significant improvement in your overall strength and endurance levels. Not only will this make it easier for you to complete your everyday tasks, but it can also help reduce your risk of injury.

There are many benefits to doing yoga regularly. If you are looking to improve your overall health, then yoga is an excellent option for you. Not only will it help to improve your flexibility, but it can also help to reduce stress and anxiety, improve your strength and endurance, and improve your mental well-being.

Do you do yoga?

Would you say you’re flexible?

Postpartum nutrition – all the good stuff

Finding the time to blog is becoming somewhat tricky (as you can imagine with a brand new baby), but I want to continue to write as I find it very cathartic and I also want to document memories of this crazy time.

Isaac is now 4.5 weeks old and honestly I can’t imagine life without him right now… and I also can’t imagine what over 6 hours of sleep feels like either! I always knew that having a baby would mean sleepless nights and an abundance of chaos… but actually living through it is something else I tell you.

That said, maternity leave is lovely. Amongst the crazy tiredness and constantly being on my toes looking after the little man, I do get to spend lots of time with family and friends doing fun things like going for walks, coffee and lunch.

It really is quite fabulous. My mum has two days off a week and Kyle’s mum doesn’t work Fridays so I get to see them a lot, which of course they love because they adore being grandmas.

My mum and I went to the Parade Tearooms and I had my favourite Jayne Salad followed by cake

Spending time with Isaac as a grandma must be amazing – you get all the fun without the hard sleepless night, eh!

So my week is very different to before, obviously. No work emails, no meetings – which is wonderful. But confusion, anxiety, stress and tiredness in abundance. Not exactly a holiday but not exactly like being in a proper job either. Very odd.

One of our many cake and coffee trips

The two weeks that Kyle was able to have as paternity leave was really lovely. Obviously it was hard and we were like deer in the headlights, Googling everything, ringing parents every hour asking questions and just wondering what the hell we’d gotten ourselves into it. But we also got to spend quality time as a threesome (well foursome with Alfie).

Kyle and I managed to get to 7Bone with Isaac which was fabulous

And I won’t lie, I’ve been having some fantastic meals and food lately, which honestly is quite surprising. I was told I wouldn’t have any time for myself to make sure there were lots of meals in the freezer.  I mean, I did prepare well and we do have a lot of food ready to go in the freezer but with all the meals out and people coming over bringing food and wanting to cook for us, we haven’t been starving!

Recent trip to Breezes for brunch

But amongst all the cake, doughnuts and lunches out I have been watching my nutrition carefully as I’m breastfeeding. While I know I need to be upping my calories to keep my supply decent, I also want to make sure the calories I’m eating are of a good quality as well. I mean cake IS good but it’s not the most nutritiously dense!

One of my favourites: Bakewell atrt

Handily I was recently sent some protein powder and collagen powder to try out from Naked Nutrition. And I’ve been making some mean smoothies to get some fast and tasty nutrition in me fast. It’s not always possible to grab the healthiest snacks on the go but having a smoothie is perfect.

I really like these products because they’re not full of any unnecessary nasties. I tried the Naked Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder and add it to my porridge in a morning and my smoothie in the afternoon. It’s made from whey source from grass-fed cows raised without growth hormones like rBGH or rBST. Each serving contains 25 grams of protein and 5.9 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). There are no additives or artificial sweeteners. Perfect!

The Naked Collagan Powder also has a similar “clean” profile, with no added nasties. It’s also flavourless so easy to add to anything like porridge or even soup. And each serving has 9 grams of protein and only 35 calories.

My smoothie recipe:

  1. One scoop of Naked chocolate protein powder
  2. One sachet of collagen powder
  3. A handful of spinach
  4. One frozen banana
  5. Handful of frozen blueberries
  6. Soya milk (or any milk you fancy)
While breastfeeding, smoothies are so easy to drink!

It’s delicious, filling and packed full of good stuff! Protein is so important in general to keep your muscles strong and your body healthy, and while I’m not training per se I am breastfeeding and it’s still super important to keep my protein solid. And collagen powder is SO good for you in terms of your hair, nails and bones. I’m giving so much physically and mentally to Isaac that it’s so handy to throw a smoothie together with all this good stuff to keep me healthy so I can keep Isaac healthy.

So in terms of food and nutrition I’ve been doing evry well. Just got to get my sleep as good eh? 😉

Do you like smoothies?

Have you ever had collagen?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the products for free in return for a blog review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

What I’m loving lately – January

Even during Lockdown 3.0 I’m trying to keep positive and find things to make me smile, though it can definitely be quite trying at times.

Being pregnant is all well and good and there’s definitely a constant low level of excitement and anticipation, but it’s quite a long time away before I actually give birth (July-ish) and I’m actually more often feeling impending doom and waves of fear. Fear of being a parent, fear of Big Life Change, fear of lack of sleep, to name a few. All the things basically.

But anyway I DO have things that I’ve been enjoying lately so thought I’d share.

First thing’s first, having Kyle come downstairs to inform me proudly he’s learnt how to swaddle a baby is pretty damn cute.

Especially considering the “baby” in question was none other than our baby Yoda cuddly toy.

It’s fair to say that both Kyle and I are entirely clueless with anything baby related so even these titbits of knowledge are gold dust for us. I feel very overwhelmed when I try and think about all the things I don’t know (let’s not even consider the “unknown unknowns”!). I know I need to be reading books, blogs and building a solid base of knowledge but at the moment I just feel it’s too much.

I also know that there are certain strong opinions on different subjects and if I read one book am I residing myself to that opinion? Or do I read everything?? Like best ways to feed your baby, getting them to sleep, routines… argh so much! So I bit of light relief from Kyle was lovely.

And speaking of baby stuff… I was recently sent an amazing piece of art from the lovely Mary (her blog http://www.ahealthiermoo.com/).

She’s started a business creating gorgeous pieces of running art (check it out here https://www.instagram.com/runnerprints/) which she was kind enough to send me one. I love it! Definitely be going up in the nursery (currently Kyle’s study). Thank you, Mary! Perfect gift idea for a runner 🙂

Something else I’ve recently been sent was a collection of bars from Human Food.

They’re basically an organic plant-based snack bar that contains no nasties, refined sugar, artificial ingredients and (which I love) their packaging is very environmentally friendly. They don’t use plastics and it’s all recyclable and biodegradable. Not only this but throughout their organisation, they pride themselves on fair treatment and fair wage of staff. Good stuff indeed!

So what were they like? I’m not a big fan of cereal or protein bars, but these were dense chewy, relatively sweet bars that I quite enjoyed.

They advise you can just eat them as a bar (very nice, I enjoyed it with a cuppa in the afternoon), or you can even break it up and add it to smoothies or even your porridge. Love this!

The ingredients are super healthy as well so you know you’re getting a powerhouse health snack (and as pregnant woman, this was so handy when I was suffering from nausea and really need to ramp up my nutrition in easy ways when I found so many other fruits and veg unpalatable). Each bar contains things like maca, ginseng, cacao and hemp seeds, along with other goodies like turmeric, spirulina, nuts and a whole host of vitamins and minerals. So a solid, quality snack that leaves a good taste in your mouth in more ways than one.

On a slight less healthy note… we’ve also been enjoying doughnuts from the a local Southsea small business (find on Instagram @southseadonutco). For £9 they delivered three homemade vegan doughnuts to us.

They were incredible. Unfortunately due to a confusion during ordering (probably my fault to be fair) we got the wrong order. But they were more than happy to deliver us our correct order the next day to make up for it – which is incredible!

So in the end we had four salted caramel doughnuts, a Biscoff one and a cinnamon sugar one. They were SO good. I especially loved the cinnamon and Biscoff ones. If you’re local, I heartily recommend these guys. We will definitely be ordering again. Soft, melt in the mouth and vegan!

We’ve also been seriously enjoying the influx of Easter chocolate that is now in the shops. Especially the Mini Eggs Bar that has just been released. This is such a moreish and delicious chocolate bar. We have literally been buying all our local shop’s stock. One of my favourite snacks in the evening is a few rows (*cough* few being subjective) of the chocolate with a decaf black coffee. It hits the spot I tell you.

We also managed to find the Easter Egg version of it so we have that ready to go for Easter (if we can avoid the temptation of scoffing it before that is). So it’s a thick egg with Mini Eggs in it with a bag of Mini Eggs (my favourite, so so dangerous though). This Easter we’re definitely not holding back – we need good stuff like this to keep us going with all things considered.

What has been so difficult (and I know pretty much everyone feels ecavtly the same right now) is not seeing our family that often. It’s so hard. Especially being pregnant, I want to be doing all the things with them like going shopping for baby items and just not having limits to seeing them. But it is what it is and we just have to live with that right now.

But I was lucky enough to see my mum for a walk down Southsea on Sunday – no hugging, no touching, but just walking and chatting. It was lovely but also so sad. My mum works in a hospital and she knows first-hand how bad it is right now and how we just have to keep going with being safe and sensible. But it doesn’t make it easier.

We got a takeaway coffee and she enjoyed one of the salted caramel doughnuts I brought for her, which she very much enjoyed.

Next weekend I hope to do the same, but with my dad. Tag teaming the family basically! It’s all we can do right now, and it’ll just have to be enough.

How are you coping in Lockdown 3.0?

Are there any new snacks you’ve been enjoying?

** Full Disclaimer: I was sent the Human Food for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones**

Healthy Snack Inspiration for the New Year

I’m not one for big resolutions with the new year but I do feel the need to clean my eating up just a teeeeny bit after all the leftovers and chocolate have been on the heavy side for the last few weeks.

So here’s an article to help give some good directions on some more balanced snack ideas…

Source: Image Pexels CC0 License

Everyone loves a sweet treat, especially as a pick me up during the cold winter months. But, if cutting down on sugary snacks is one of your resolutions for the new year, then you may be on the lookout for healthier alternatives. Trying to curb your snacking can be tough, especially as everyone is spending so much time at home and within easy reach of the fridge right now! If you need some inspiration for tasty, yet healthy alternatives to your usual snacks, then why not give some of these a try?

Seeds

Seeds are an excellent choice of healthy snack to satisfy your hunger between meals. One of the best varieties of seed to snack on is pumpkin seeds. They may be small, but these tasty seeds make a perfect snack choice to keep mid-morning hunger at bay. Each seed is packed full of protein, fibre, plus omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Vitamin B2, folate and calcium are all also contained in pumpkin seeds.

One of the best things about seeds is that they have a long shelf life, so if you are someone that often shops for health foods, but then ends up binning them because they have gone off before you have had a chance to eat them, seeds are an ideal choice.

Berries

Sometimes you need something sweet to satisfy your cravings. Berries are the perfect choice to relieve your urge for a sweet snack and are packed full of flavour. Choosing strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or a mix of each will help you get your five-a-day while satisfying your sweet tooth. These berries are full of antioxidants as well as flavour, which provides many benefits to your overall health. Antioxidants help to reduce inflammation levels in the body and also help to lower bad cholesterol.

Yoghurt

Some yoghurts are full of sugar, and fat-free varieties that are promoted as ‘diet’ foods can contain sweeteners. To avoid yoghurts that are not as healthy as they seem, it is well worth reading the ingredients list carefully and opting for natural yoghurts. Choosing natural yoghurts containing live cultures can provide benefits for your digestive health. Many people believe that these live cultures can improve the balance of good bacteria in your gut. 

Smoothies

If you want to pack as many nutrients as possible into one serving at snack time, then preparing a smoothie is an excellent way to do it. Making a fresh smoothie at home enables you to fill it with many of the healthy options listed above. Adding yoghurt, berries, and seeds to your smoothie will help to fill you up and makes a perfect snack for any time, whether you are working or out and about.

Hummus

Hummus is the perfect way to enjoy a tasty and filling snack. One of the best things about hummus is that it is easy to make yourself, and is also really versatile. Use hummus as a spread, or as a dip for crudites to help you get your five-a-day.

What are your favourite snacks?

Do you like to snack between meals or just have big meals?

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

Eating Well for Your Digestive Health

I’m so nervous about Sunday’s marathon I can’t tell you… but hopefully I’ll have a positive update next week.

Until then I have a post regarding keeping your digestion nice and healthy. Enjoy!

Sometimes the joy of eating is having whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s important to stay fuelled up if you’re an active person to make sure you’re getting enough energy. But sometimes you need to be a bit more careful about what you eat, especially if your digestive system starts objecting to what you’re putting in it. Changing what you eat or how you eat, even if it’s just some of the time, can help you if you have digestive issues or you just want to be healthier in general. Try these tips if you want to make your gut happier and healthier.

Enjoy a Diverse Diet

Eating lots of different things can help to keep your digestive system (and the rest of you) healthy. When you have a diverse microbiota in your gut, it’s generally going to be healthy. Different species of bacteria can do different things and help you to stay healthy in a variety of ways. Expanding your diet to include lots of different foods can help to make the bacteria in your intestines more diverse so that you have a happier tummy. Considering the different food groups and lots of types of plant foods can make your diet more varied.

Eat Plenty of Vegetables, Fruits, Legumes, and Beans

Fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes and beans, have lots of nutrients in them. Many of them also have a lot of fibre, which is great for your digestive system. When you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, you might even be able to prevent some bacteria that lead to disease. Some great foods that are high in fibre and good for your gut include chickpeas, broccoli, lentils, and all kinds of beans. Eating foods like these will help your digestive system to operate as it should.

Try Fermented Foods

You might have heard people talking about the magic of fermented foods. Fermentation usually involves the natural process of bacteria or yeast turning sugars into acids or alcohol. Some types of fermented food include yoghurt, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut. If you wanted to try something new, buy Gutsy Ferments sauerkraut or a similar product. Not everyone likes all types of fermented products, but you’ll probably find some that you find very tasty. Try something different like kimchi or just stick to a less adventurous probiotic yoghurt if you’re not the sort of person to branch out.

Look for Prebiotic Foods

Prebiotic foods promote the growth of microbes that are beneficial to the gut. They include fibres and complex carbs that need bacteria to break them down. Lots of fruits, vegetables, and wholegrains count as prebiotics, such as the onion family (including garlic and leek), asparagus, bananas, and barley, and oats. These foods also contain lots of nutrients that are good for your health, as well as helping to give you a healthy digestive system.

Take good care of your gut health if you want to be healthier and feel more comfortable while enjoying a diverse diet.

Do you have any issues with your digestion?

Do you think you eat enough fruit and veg?