You can drink that now?

I’ve been completely fascinated recently on finding out the effect that different types of tea have on our body. For a while I only ever had standard tea like English breakfast and I’ve always enjoyed it and still do, I especially love it when I’m sick and it’s only then that I ever add sugar to tea. So where am I going with this, well I’ve moved on to bigger better tea with more variety and flavours. Most of us know by now that drinking chamomile tea has a calming and relaxing effect on us, we know that peppermint tea helps to ease stomach problems, lemon and ginger for a sore throat, but there are so many others out there that are beneficial for the body as well.

While having a chat to my mother about my latest favourite tea (sounds thrilling doesn’t it?) She mentioned she had tried rose tea, I was like “What? You can drink roses now?” My first thought was how is that even remotely beneficial for your body, I don’t know if anyone else feels the same but I honestly thought roses in food were like some sort of decoration, serving no nutritional benefits at all. I was curious though as to what it does, as well as, what it would taste like. I’ve had trouble finding food grade roses to make my own and I wouldn’t use roses from the florist because those will be covered in pesticides, so I tried the next best thing I could find. I purchased a packet of Madame Flavour’s ‘White with Rose’ tea and I’m in love! As I’m typing this I am sipping away on some. I can taste the rose, not as strong as the tea flavour, but it is there and it smells divine. The tea is made up of Pai Mu Tan which is a white tea from China, rose flavouring and rose petals.  There isn’t as many rose petals as I thought that would be in there, maybe one or two petals per bag. Needless to say I still love it and it’s still bursting with nutritional goodness.

I can see it ticking over in your head “What’s so great about it, hurry up and get to the point”. Well here it goes, white tea is said to contain up to 30% more polyphenols than green tea or black tea.  Polyphenols are antioxidants and there are over 4000 different types of them.  Most of the stronger ones are anti-inflammatory and help to neutralise free radicals in the body.  White tea is also known to restore fluid balance in the body, accelerate the metabolism as well as having antibacterial properties. Woo hoo for White Tea!

Rose tea also has wonderful benefits on the body, as well as being anti-inflammatory, it aids in sinus relief, fights against infection as well as relieves bloating, diarrhoea, gastro, depression, insomnia and fatigue. After all that it also aids in pain relief from menstrual cramps! Turns out there is a legitimate reason women like and more importantly need flowers! There are also quite a few scientific studies showing positive results on the body from drinking rose tea. The only warning I have to give is if you drink too much rose tea it will have a laxative effect on the body…. Don’t ask me how I know this……

If you by chance have some food grade rose petals hanging around here’s how you can make your own:

2 cups of fresh fragrant rose petals
3 cups of water
Honey to taste

Clip and discard white bases from the rose petals, rinse thoroughly and dry.
Simmer in water for 5 minutes or until the petals have darkened
Remove from heat and strain into tea cups, add honey to taste.

Let me know if you have tried to make your own rose tea or have a better recipe than mine, I’d love to know!

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Quick get me a coffee… STAT!

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One thing we seem to be trying to get in our lives is more energy; we talk supplements, drink coffee, have energy drinks and are constantly looking for ways to get more.  I thought we’d look at a few different ways to get some energy with having to resort to calorie, sugar laden energy supplements. As I was researching for this I came across a website that was talking about an energy boost called “sugar rush” It was simply 18 Jelly Belly Jelly Beans blended together! Oh my goodness! That is certainly not the way to get long lasting energy!

Sometimes 8 hours of solid sleep is not enough to keep us going all day as we lead hectic fast paced lives, rushing from one to the next. Then we get worn out and look for something to give us a boost. Without thinking a lot of us will reach for coffee, energy drinks and snacks high in calories, sugar and carbohydrates. While tired you’re more likely to snack and look for these foods than choose something like fresh produce or nuts. Sugar and carbs, although these provide energy and fast, it is often very short lived, causing you to consume even more.

If you find yourself reaching for that snack why not try a banana or an apple with some peanut butter. The fructose takes longer to metabolise in our bodies than processed sugar and the peanut butter provides a longer lasting form of energy.

Not all carbs are bad; some complex carbohydrates like whole grains and beans are some of the best long lasting energy boosters out there that make you feel full at the same time. Try some whole grain crackers with some hummus.

If lacking energy leads to crave sweet things, avoid the sugar which gives you a short time high but an awful sugar crash and swap it for something like Greek yoghurt, muesli and berries. A small serving of this will cure those sweet cravings and supply you with long lasting energy and leaving you feel satisfied.

Eggs are fantastic! A boiled egg in the afternoon help you stay awake is a good idea! Eggs are packed full of protein and offer nearly the same benefits as lean meat, including B vitamins, iron and protein

Sometimes all you need is to move. A brisk walk outside will give you a boost in energy and a fresh air to blow away the cobwebs that start forming in your head when you get tired. Finally, try a glass of cool water with a slice of lemon. Dehydration can lower your metabolism and your energy levels. The lemon provides some vitamin c, or you  can try coconut water which has extra electrolytes and potassium.

So next time you’re looking for an energy boost, why not swap the energy drink for something more substantial and sustaining!

Time to look in the mirror

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visit http://www.waitplate.com for your lifestyle change

How do you feel when you hear “you’re going on a diet”? What feelings does this invoke in you and be honest. Can you hear that little voice saying in panic “I’m going to starve, I’ll be deprived, I can’t do it, I’ll still be hungry, I don’t want to go without”. I know you hear this because I hear it to. That mean little inner voice is screaming NO NO NO! What if I tell you diets don’t work for most people in the long run and I don’t want you to go on diet? Does that make you feel better, relieved even? Diet is a scary word, it has the word “die” in it, and of course we’re going to be afraid of it. What if I tell you the anxiety you feel when it comes to food can be changed, will that help? It can be changed and your relationship with food can be changed.

Let me tell you about my experiences with food. I eat when I’m stressed and emotional, that’s not a surprise most people do. However, the emotions I felt when eating were worse than what I felt before the food. I often would eat to squash an emotion, and as I ate I felt even more ashamed and frankly embarrassed by myself. So I ate more. The more I ate the more I focused on becoming full, overfull, and the quicker I ate the more full I could become. It got me thinking about why I turn to food and my relationship with food. I’ve had body image issues for a very long time; this seems to be happening to more and more people at very young ages. We criticise and scrutinise ourselves until we feel so bad about ourselves that we look to something to make ourselves feel better.

The first time I really criticised myself, and I remember exactly when I first doubted myself, my parents are divorced and I lived with my mother, on a visitation to my father he said to me “Why are you so fat? Doesn’t your mother know anything about nutrition?” I was no more than 6 or 7 years old. This cut me to my core, not so much about me being fat, but criticising the person I love more than anything in this world, my mother. I felt like I was an embarrassment to her because I was fat and people would think she was a bad mother. She wasn’t a bad mother at all. She’s the most amazing person in the world and I wasn’t fat at all. But someone had forced their opinion of what I should look like on me because they have their own issues with themselves. This is the worst thing we can do for each other, but it doesn’t stop people from doing it. During high school I remember overhearing people talking about how fat I was. Once again I wasn’t fat at all. I was very tall, taller than most girls, with broad shoulders but because I didn’t look like the other girls and I was different, I was instantly fat. Once again someone else was forcing their opinion into my mind.

No matter how many times people tell you not to listen to others, it still affects you and deep down. It’s ok to feel these things; sometimes you just can’t help it. The choice though you need to make is whether to keep letting it bother you or not. Be really honest with yourself and let your vain side show, look in the mirror and what do you see? I know there is a very small voice in there that is saying something positive. Sometimes you really have to listen hard, but when you find it turn the volume all the way up. Can you hear that voice telling you you’re too fat? Turn it down and become aware of what you see, remove yourself from your body so to speak and look at your body and let’s make some realisations.

From what I see and I’m being completely honest, I’m a overweight, but I also see, nice hair, nice eyes, I look good in what I’m wearing and what I know for sure, is I’m a good person. I know what I look like physically and rather than attach an emotion like sadness to my negative traits I have removed the emotion and see it for what it is. I focus on the stuff I like about myself and soon everything falls in place. I’m not saying to deny the way you look or your weight, but weight can be changed, you need to change your mind first. Once you start making these positive steps to fixing the way you see yourself then you’ll be in a better place to actually change what you don’t like.

I personally feel no shame in my body, yes I would like to lose weight and have a nice body, but I’m not ashamed. I don’t want to attach those sorts of negative words to myself, so I removed them. It takes a bit of persistence but it’s worth doing.  As the commercials say “You’re worth it”, because you are. Work on focusing on those good things about yourself, you may only find one thing at first, eventually you’ll find more and more.

So what’s the next step? Let’s look at change. Change can be hard, difficult and scary, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re even thinking about change, then you probably need it. Listen to that inner voice that speaks your truth, we tend to lose our ability to listen to that voice and it becomes hard to hear but you’ll find it. You’ll know what you need and change is not scary. It’s true what they say “change is as good as a holiday”, maybe not a holiday but it’s still pretty good. You’re reading this because you think you’re overweight, that’s ok a lot of people are, but let’s change this. This is where I sound like infomercial, that’s because I believe so much in this that I know it will work for you.

The Waitplate System is your lifestyle change, it’s my lifestyle change. This system address’s the psychological and physical aspects of eating. It takes the guess work out how much and re-teaches you to eat properly. Don’t think of it as a diet (there’s that word again), it’s not, you won’t be deprived and you won’t miss out. In fact the changes happen almost instantly. The first time you try it you’ll realise you haven’t missed out at all. I promise you, you will still feel satisfied after your very first meal and the next and the next. Take that first step and make the change.

So how does it re-teach me? It’s a whole system, the focus is restoring your hunger/satiety response. Think of this as a reset to default for your body. With assistance you’ll restore this balance and eventually you’ll be able to do it on your own. How does it assist you? The Waitplate comes with a unique chew timer to slow down how fast you eat. It also comes with food templates which show you the correct serving of each food, as well as a portion control plate. The thing that won me over was the cutlery. It’s small. Being small serves a purpose though, it’s help you to put smaller amounts of food into your mouth and it works together with the timer to slow down and reduce how much you eat.

So why not take that first step now to making you feel great.

I’m back!

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Now I know I haven’t been around for a while but let me just fill you in on what’s been going on. The last few months have been very tough for me. A few months ago I started feeling just all round crap. I was tired all the time and had no motivation to do anything, let along get out of bed. I was getting severe stomach pains constantly that would only be eased by heat packs and I was getting constant headaches and gaining a lot of weight quickly and constantly bloating. I went and got a blood test and an ultrasound to see what was going. The ultrasound came back fine but the blood test showed some interesting results. My iron levels were severely low and I have an underactive thyroid.

I started getting iron injections and went on some thyroid medication and for a while I started feeling really good again. That all went downhill again. I constantly felt on the verge of tears, I became moody again and the headaches started coming back again. I had taken on a complete doom and gloom view on the world. Going back to the doctor and discussing a few things, turns out my depression has come back in full force. Lucky me right?

I had to sit down and think about what in my life was making me feel this bad. Last time I had it this bad I was in an awful relationship, not this time though. I have a great relationship with Cameron and feel very supported. I took note of when the recent headaches started again and it was always as I was about to go to work. I felt my at my worst at work, I had just had enough. The feeling of dread as I walk in the building was crippling and the depression was manifestoing into physical symptoms. After everything I had going on with my health and then to go to a job I didn’t like, I had come to breaking point.

It’s taken me a few weeks to figure out what I was going to and I have to say these were the most stressful weeks of my life. Do I stay or go? What about money? What do I want to do? It came to decision time on Monday morning when I was dressed in my work uniform and sat on my bed and burst into tears. I couldn’t bring myself to go back, why was I putting myself through this. It’s not worth it. I sat there home alone just crying and crying. I rang work and said I wasn’t coming in today and as I work casually I said not to call me for a few weeks to work. Decision made.

I spent the day job hunting and am still job hunting. I haven’t quit my job because it’s my safety net in case something goes wrong. Instead I’ve been working with my mum to help launch her new business The Waitplate. The longer I spent working with her and writing articles and researching the more I started discovering my passion for healthy food again. As I’ve gained weight I’ve decided to do a 4 week Waitplate challenge. I’ll be posting as often as I can with how I’m going on it and any hints and tips I’ve come across.

So what’s The Waitplate? It’s not a diet but a whole lifestyle change. I can still eat what I like but using The Waitplate I will re-learn how to eating properly and with proper portions. I’ve already learnt so much in just a few days. My mum writes a blog called Perfect Portions which you can check out as well as the website www.waitplate.com to find out more. Even just reading the articles is fascinating.

This means my blog will be taking a different turn, it will still be about food and will still have recipes but you’ll be following my journey as I learn more each day and feel better each day.

Obese and empty

There is definitely a link between emotions and eating, I know this because I’m an emotional eater. I looked to food when I’m stressed, anxious, depressed and bored. I suffered from depression a few years ago, I had convinced myself that I was eating the amount of food I was because I wanted to. The truth was that while I was eating I didn’t have to think about anything except the food.

I was depressed because of a venomous relationship. I had no friends, was barely allowed to see my family, I worked in a job I hated and had no money. I think the lowest point for me was going to the local fish and chips shop to buy $5 worth of chips for the 5 night in a row and sitting there waiting completely embarrassed, ashamed and on the verge of tears.  I went home and split a huge amount of chips between my ex-partner and I. I just kept eating and eating, because if I just kept putting food in my mouth I wouldn’t cry and he wouldn’t see me and ridicule me.

I stayed this way for a few years. I look back and think “what the hell was I thinking”. I was in my early twenties; I should have been out having fun, socialising with friends and experiencing life. Instead I wasn’t living, I was just existing, going through each day feeling nothing, I had given up. Although I hated my job, I looked forward each day to going to work; at least the people I worked with were nice to me.  It was a vicious cycle because then I would go home to eat some more so I didn’t have to actually think about how miserable my life was and feel how miserable I was.

I often daydreamed about “my second life” that was the life where I was thin, happy and loved. I would lay in bed thinking of different happy scenarios and major life events until I fell asleep hoping I’d dream of them. Mainly they were finding the love of my life, who actually loved me and fought to keep me. They were like a typical cheesy romantic book. You can predict the ending but you still read it anyway. In fact I read tons of them; they were pure escapism for me.  I never left the house because we never did anything and every time I suggested I wanted to start exercising, I was put down and told I couldn’t do it.

Do you remember that feeling you used to get in your chest when you were yelled at by your parents just before you burst into tears? I lived with that feeling each day, always on the verge of tears but I never cried, I ate. Food was my real life escape. The day I finally broke down and told someone was to my old manager, and I hope she reads this. She was the first person I ever told what was really going. Boy did she not expect that! She pulled me into the office again to talk to me about my performance. Of course I knew how bad I was at my job and I have no idea why on earth they kept me for so long.

Talking to someone really helped me. It felt like I had finally admitted that I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t coping, but it brought me back to reality. When I told her, it felt like part of my mind had cleared and I could start to see what I could to do to solve the problem. After the meeting, I excused myself and went to the bathroom to tidy myself up. I looked in the mirror and saw what I really was for the first time. Obese and empty.

I swear that event was a sign from someone telling me change was coming and it was all ending. Not long after that my mum, who is my saving grace, intervened.  The relationship finally ended, I quit my job and I moved back in with my family. For most young people moving back in with mum and dad at 23 would be embarrassing, but it wasn’t, it was the happiest moment of my life so far. I had almost forgotten what it felt like to be loved so much by people all of the time, not just rarely

Obviously I wasn’t completely whole straight away. It took some time for me to heal, and I still haven’t completely, but nearly. I suffered anxiety really badly along with the depression. Slowly though things changed the first was my relationship with food.

Mum’s cooking is amazing, it was nice to not have to think about what I was eating, and instead I sat with my family at dinner and talked, told stories and laughed. These are some of my favourite memories. No one held grudges they just treated me like they always have. It was just what I needed. Within months weight was just melting away.

12 months later and I had lost over 30kgs and my whole world had changed. Mum controlled my portions, the food I ate, how often I ate and the quality of food I ate. I wasn’t even mad that I was getting less food. I didn’t care because I no longer ate to stop myself from feeling. Instead I ate because my body needed it and meal times were spent with my family. I’m not perfect now, but I’m extremely happy with my life and myself.

I think the best thing you can ever do when you’re depressed is to tell someone. Sometimes it hard to tell someone who is too close what’s wrong; try telling someone who is not actively involved in your life. There are so many free call numbers you can call who can help you. There is nothing wrong with the way you’re feeling, sometimes you just need to stop and really thinking about what’s going on. You know deep down what is making you feel that way, once you admit it to yourself then you can begin to change things and begin to heal.

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Me before, overweight and unhealthy

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After, not the best picture but you get my point 😀

Mmmm bleached cotton balls

Photo by Shutterstock.

“My diet starts as of Monday!” How many of us say this on a regular basis? I’m guilty of saying every week. I think I say it now so I can gorge myself on food over the weekend, not that I ever start the diet at all.

We’ve all been guilty of dieting, mine start out all well and good and by lunch the next day I’m starving and give up.  I know I don’t stick to them because I know deep down that fad diets don’t work in the long run. They might for a little while, but rapid weight losses from these diets usually result in water loss.  Our bodies go into starvation mood when it’s denied proper nutrition and portions. This has been happening for centuries.

Back when we roamed the land to hunt for our food, food would be scarce so our bodies would go into starvation mood, which meant that it stored as much of the food as it could as fat for our bodies to feed off during famine. The problem with modern day is that we have an abundance of food in the western world yet we diet and cause this to happen. Our bodies are doing what just comes naturally to them.  When you restrict your food your body will feed off fat reserves, but when you start eating again it will replenish the fat reserves to prepare for the next famine.

This got me thinking about some of those crazy diets fads that are out there. They actually aren’t that hard to find.  The first one I found was the cotton ball diet.

Apparently you eat them before each meal as they’re meant to be high in fibre, curb cravings and prevent over eating….Seriously?  I think you have a screw lose if you think this is a viable option for dieting. I wonder about the person who tried this, did they think “mmm those bleached cotton balls are looking mighty tasty” Can you just image all the digestive issues this would cause, as well as blocking of essential nutrients being absorbed into our bodies. What about what happens when they come back out! I know I wasn’t the only one who had that thought pop into their head!

This one we’ve all heard of, The Tapeworm diet! Let’s all ingest beef tapeworm eggs so we can have a parasite growing in us to eat all the food we eat and then it can poop it back out again inside our digestive track! This one has been around since early 1900s, apparently when you’ve lost the desired amount of weight you can just take a medicine to kill the tape worm. Not only does this lead to all sorts of deficiencies but what goes in must come out. Some of these tapeworms can get to massive lengths and you’re going to have to poop that thing out!

Any sort of diet that requires long term liquid only. Seriously? Not only does it cause extra unnecessary bowel movement, but you’re going to be really hungry. Once again these work for a short period only; once you start ingesting food again it’s going to come to back.

The sleeping beauty diet, while technically we do lose weight while we sleep, I sure as hell don’t want to be heavily sedated for a few days just for the sake of losing a few kilos. All this achieves is starvation.

When looking around the net for these diets, I was quite shocked at the amount of fad diets. At the end of the day fad diets are not going to work and a majority of them are bad for you in the long run. Rather than jump on the bandwagon of the latest diet, what we need is a lifestyle change not appetite suppressants and laxatives!

It’s itchy knitted jumper time!

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We’re coming into winter now and you know what that means! It’s time to bust out the old itchy knitted jumpers! No? It must be cold and flu season then! Yay sick days…. Hmm… maybe not.

I can pretty much guarantee that come change of seasons, I’ll get a cold. I’m always looking for a home remedy before I turn to antibiotics. There is one thing I always do as soon as I feel something coming on and that’s taking some olive leaf extract.

While for me it doesn’t stop it in its tracks, it does lessen the length and severity of the cold. I had a look online at some more home remedies and here are some I came across.

Echinacea is said to have antiviral and antibiotic effects as well as boosts the immune system, relieves pain and reduces inflammation. Like Olive leaf extract, Echinacea should be taken at the first signs of a cold or flu. I have tried Echinacea in a liquid form before and I thought the taste was pretty foul, so I didn’t take it again after that. Olive leaf extract does the same thing, but when mixed with water is a bit more palatable.

Gargling a mixture of water and salt is said to help anything from a tickle in the throat to a sore and swollen throat. It helps to disinfect the throat membranes or moisten a dry sore throat. While also not very tasty, it does help.

When going to bed with a stuffed nose or chesty cough, try sleeping with an extra pillow or elevating your head. I do this and found it really helps. Working in childcare, we do this for kids who come in with coughs and colds. It helps to keep sinuses and chests from “filling up”.

An old one but a good one is hot tea with lemon and honey. The warm tea helps to soothe a sore throat and warm you up when you have the chills. Honey and lemon are both great for soothing and disinfecting a sore throat. The mixture is pack full of antioxidants and helps to fight the virus. I love this when I’m sick, I find added extra lemon helps to numb my throat as well.

Garlic and ginger are also great. Garlic help to boost your immune system and ginger helps to tame nausea. These can be added to chicken soup which everyone loves when they’re sick. This to helps when suffering from a cold or flu. The salty broth helps to thin mucus and the chicken contains protein to boost your immunity and produce disease fighting antibodies.

Then there is the tried and tested, steam. I always feel better after a hot shower when I’m sick. Steam helps to shrink mucus membranes and encourages them to drain. When I have the chills, I’ve found a hot shower helps to relieve it.

So what doesn’t work? Antibiotics attack bacteria and colds are viruses, so these don’t help.  The only reason you would take antibiotics for a cold is if it turns into an infection. You can take panadol or ibuprofen can help to provide short term relief for the symptoms of a cold and reduces a fever.

At the end of the day it’s best to try to avoid colds but maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle. This means regular exercise, healthy eating and maintaining decent hygiene, especially washing your hands!

Stay warm!

I quit! Sort of….

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Hi, my name is Danielle and I’m addict. My poison… refined sugar… You probably are as well but just may not know it. More and more research is coming out about the dangers of refined sugar. The damage it does to your body is quite scary. So I set myself a challenge, to quit sugar, being typical me I went in to it with all guns blazing. This didn’t work as sugar is in pretty much everything. I sat down for a few minutes to figure a few things out, I came to the conclusion that before quitting it all together I need to cut down and then phase it out over the following weeks.

The first thing to go was soft drink from the fridge and then the sugar from the cupboards. I threw them both in the bin. It probably took about 2 weeks to completely rid the house of sugar and replace it all. I also banned any artificial sweeteners from the house, anything that contains aspartame. We use stevia for a sweetener which is a natural plant derived sweetener.

Sugar is a real addiction. I can honestly say that I suffered withdrawals from it and it’s not pleasant the first few days because I was irritable, I had a headache and I was tired. I wasn’t the best person to be around. I knew though, that I had to see it through at least 2 weeks.

I did make it 2 weeks and felt amazing at the end of it. My skin looked great, the dark circles under my eyes were gone and I have never felt more positive about life than after those 2 weeks. However, it’s really hard to eliminate sugar 100% from your diet 100% of the time.

I decided to talk it out with Mum on the phone as she was doing the same thing as I. (I must add we were super inspired at this stage after attending a lecture by Dr Gabriel Cousens) In the end it came down to just doing the best I can.

The only bit of sugar I keep in the house is individual sachets of sugar for guests, otherwise Cameron now uses stevia in his tea and coffee and I don’t add anything to mine.  When I wanted to drink soft drink I found I could trick myself into thinking I was by drinking soda water. I think it’s the bubbles, whatever it was, it worked. Whenever I have a craving for something sweet, I eat a teaspoon of raw, organic honey. This is just enough to satisfy my taste buds, and it’s not a refined sugar, in fact honey has fantastic benefits for our bodies. The juice from lemons and limes in water was another way that helped to get rid of sugar.

If I go out to eat, I won’t deny myself but I try to choose the best option and if I have any sugar then I don’t have any for the rest of day.

What I have found is that if I binge on sugar for a few days I definitely notice. All of a sudden I’ll be tired again and lacking in motivation.

Give it a go, you won’t be disappointed. Do a little research and find out the truth about refined sugars. If you decide to cut back or quit sugar, find a way that works for you. Good Luck!