HOW TO SIT WELL!

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I have written time and time again about how we have not yet evolved to cope with the demands of modern living. There simply hasn’t been sufficient time and evolutionary pressure for us to manage the radical changes we have made to our diet, movement patterns, stress responses and living environments in the last few hundred years.

It is sad that in the Western world we are made to sit at desks from the moment our schooling years begin. The scientific research supporting just how important movement is for children’s development alone is astounding. I believe it is the lack of movement that causes humans to age far too quickly and lose their gross and fine motor skills. Movement not only gives us confidence, but is also a form of creativity and expression – all of which are being stifled by the fear-based human need to create order and control.

WHY SITTING IS BAD FOR US

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3 WAYS TO HELP HEAL BACK PAIN NATURALLY

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Back pain, particularly in the lower back, is one of the most common physical complaints. There are a number of factors specific to the individual, however there are some common threads running through each case that can be managed with my three-part protocol.

First and foremost it is important to recognise that your pain is there for a reason and is something that will not be remedied by long-term use of painkillers or other numbing agents. It is also important to note that most back pain is caused by muscle tension and imbalance rather than spinal problems. Thus, we need to bring awareness and understanding to the postural habits as well as emotional tensions that lie beneath the physical tension and be proactive in heeding our bodies needs.

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THREE PART PROTOCOL

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READING YOUR BODY’S POSTURE

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I recently wrote an Instagram post about how being super physically flexible isn’t necessarily always a good thing. In it, I wanted to express how there is an absolute connection and continuity between your physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental worlds.

Bringing awareness to our posture or physicality can tell us a lot about our approach to life – the way we respond to stress or threats, what kind of company we keep, how our upbringing was, why we experience certain illnesses, what habits we have, and so on. Thus, decoding and making positive changes to our posture will help optimize our quality of life and ability to thrive.

CUES YOU CAN GLEAN FROM YOUR BODY:

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FEELING WIRED OR ANXIOUS POST-EXERCISE?

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Have you ever experienced post-work out panicking or an inability to wind down? Or have you ever connected the two? Unfortunately it can be one possible side effect of overworking your upper body or working with incorrect alignment.

Overstimulating your upper back and neck muscles, particularly for stressed people, can send the body into panic mode as these are the same muscles that activate when we sense danger. The brain takes this tension as an indication that you’re about to go into some kind of battle, and floods the body with stress chemicals such as adrenaline.

Increasing the blood flow, and thus relaxation around these tissues, helps reset the nervous system back into cruise-control by flooding the body with relaxation chemicals and endorphins.

Try the following to help keep you strong but calm:

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SIMPLE BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES (gluten, sugar, dairy free)

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Here’s a delicious, nutritious pancake recipe you can use this Pancake Tuesday!
I’ve listed some savoury and sweet filling ideas below. Remember that choosing a sugar-free breakfast is crucial in keeping insulin levels balanced and keeping you fuller for longer. It also helps you better tune in to what your body truly needs – sugar often craves more sugar so watch out!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut or rice milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Coconut oil to grease the pan

Savory filling ingredients

  • Sauteed spinach and grated courgette
  • Scrambled egg with turmeric
  • Avocado and mixed leaves

Dessert filling ingredients

  • Stewed apple
  • Smashed blueberries and almond butter
  • Raspberries and coconut cream
Directions
  • Preheat a non-stick chemical-free pan / cast iron pan.
  • Whisk all the ingredients together.
  • Turn the heat up – moderate to high.
  • Grease the pan with a decent amount of coconut oil. Pour in the batter to fill the pan, cook, flip, plate, stuff with your choice of filling, consume.

CHANGING THE STORIES

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We have all created narratives throughout our lives that keep us locked into unhealthy thought patterns. Even though these stories make us feel fearful, angry, sad or anxious, we love them because they feel like home: they’re comfortable, familiar & predictable.

One of the stories I love to run is that life = worry. I pick through my day to find something to hyper focus on and build into a worry story. This story is great at keeping me occupied and stopping me from venturing out of my comfort zone. Another common story people love, is to find ways of blaming other people for the misfortunes in their own lives. As long as they can blame others they’ll never have to look at their own part in the story and change their ways. There are many, many stories we tell ourselves…do you know yours?

Despite our stories having strong pathways (due to constant use!) it is totally possible to re-write them, I can vouch for this. The steps outlined below have been incredibly helpful in rewriting new nourishing stories.

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SIMPLE FRUIT CRUMBLE (gluten, grain & sugar free, paleo, vegan)

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This dish is my current obsession: fresh, flavorful, gooey stewed fruit, topped with a crunchy crumble topping. It’s the perfect light dessert for the summer or cosy winter pudding drenched with organic cream. It also doubles as a delicious and healthy breakfast alternative for cereal addicts, as it is far superior in bio-available nutrients, fats and minerals than most commercially produced cereals.

 

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PRE AND POST RUN TIPS & EXERCISES

 

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There are a lot of contradicting views regarding stretching out there, especially stretches associated with running. In my opinion, what will assist you most seriously, as always, is enjoying and connecting with what you’re trying to achieve. There is no point in making yourself run if you hate running and there is no point in racing through your stretches if you’re not paying attention to what you’re trying to feel and achieve during them.

In an ideal world, our bodies would be balanced and able to move easily and freely through movements because everything is correctly aligned, flexible and stable. However, the majority of us have dysfunction around our bodies: the muscles around our pelvis are weak due to the amount of time we spend sitting,  our feet are stiff and lack bounce from squashing them into shoes and pounding around on hard concrete pavements, our ribs are tight from not breathing fully…and so on. So this means we need to spend a little time un-doing our poor postural patterns, and re-learning how to move with ease.

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PLUM CREAM (dairy, sugar, grain & gluten free, paleo, vegan)

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I’m always trying to find healthier options for desserts as a way to help with sugar addictions and sweet dependencies among us all! So I’ve come up with the below recipe which I think is a great alternative to the normal sugar laden ice-cream or yoghurt. Of course you can play around with different fruits – ideally choose what is in season – or if you are fructose sensitive then berries are a good choice.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 2 plums (or nectarines are delicious too!)
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 4 TBSP almond flour
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Blend with a hand blender into a smooth creamy mixture then leave to set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Consume as is, or as an accompaniment for crumble or cake! It is also really lovely with a sprinkle of  toasted coconut, nuts or seeds for a healthy breakfast option.