10 Superfood’s to Add to Your Shopping List

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In my previous post I wrote about why we shouldn’t be “detoxing” this January, but that is by no means to say that we shouldn’t be trying to live and eat healthily. The problem with detox diets is that they more often than not – well pretty much always, actually – rely on cutting certain foods, and sometimes entire food groups out of your diet. I prefer to focus what I can add to my diet to improve it, rather than what I have to take away, or deny myself.

I’m getting personal now, but for me, restricting certain foods can be triggering, and what starts out as a seemingly innocent quest for a healthier diet, soon turns into an obsessive, guilt-ridden nightmare, over which I have no control. I find that concentrating so hard on what I can’t eat – the forbidden fruit, so to speak – sparks negative thoughts and sets me up for a fail from the very beginning. You know that old saying “we only want what we can’t have” yeah, that pretty much sums me up.

So, I have eventually learnt from my track record and am now taking a different approach to improving my diet, by adding new foods. Nope, not taking anything away, just adding some new ones into the equation – and yes I am feeling okay! For once, I am actually trying to eat better for the health benefits rather than to lose weight and I have to say I think I could get used to it.

Of course, I’m not just talking about adding any old thing you fancy to your diet, I’m talking about the foods that have proven health benefits, the foods that can do great things, I’m talking about, drumroll please, the superfood’s.

Obviously this list could go on and on, but here’s just a few of my favourites to inspire your tastebuds!

Quinoa

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Spinach

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Beetroot

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Sweet Potato

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Blueberries

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Greek Yoghurt

Pomegranate

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Avocado

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Why NOT to detox this January

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It’s a new year, that must mean a new you, right? And when I say a new you, I mean a skinnier, healthier, fitter, less toxin filled version of last year you, of course. Which newest, craziest celebrity fad diet are you using to attempt to achieve this “new you”? Well if you’ve been reading the tabloids of late it’s probably Gwyneth Paltrow’s Red Carpet Detox Diet, but don’t panic if this isn’t the detox you’ve opted for, the Red Carpet Detox adheres almost exactly to every single other detox cliche around, it just happens to be this one which has the media’s attention at present.

Alongside articles related to said diet, I keep coming across the question, can celebrities make you fitter? “No. No they can’t” I want to scream. They’re not nutritionists or personal trainers, they are simply people in the public eye, who for whatever reason society has chosen to idolise, and therefore will believe anything they say.

What I’m getting at is, this January don’t fall for the detox diet. A diet which recommends excluding almost entire food groups and advocates obsessive, unrealistic eating is not just unhealthy but nutritionally ignorant and encourages weight obsession. Although thankfully most people will never suffer with an eating disorder, many at some point in their lives, will experience phases of disordered eating, of which detoxes such as this are a prime example. While it is disgusting that the media promotes this disordered eating, by forcing these diets and detoxes upon us, it shouldn’t surprise anyone – the western world is obsessed with food, with eating it and not eating it. So much so, that what we eat has almost become a statement about our life and who we are. At the end of the day detoxes are fashionable, just as being skinny is, and who doesn’t want to be fashionable and skinny? Even if they do come at an ever-increasing price, that price being your health.

What we should be aware of is that these diets are concocted on the belief that women are so shallow and silly, they will follow anything they’re told to, just because a celebrity has been name-dropped in there. Yeah its offensive, but sadly its true, and even more worryingly, quite often the theory works.

Celebrities can’t make you fit or help you lose weight, only you can do that and the only sensible, effective way is to eat well and exercise often. Don’t detox, its unnecessary, unhelpful and unhealthy.

Make 2015 Your Best Year Yet

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January is a strange time, we are full of hope for the coming year, full of motivation to kick those bad habits, full of ideas about how we can better ourselves, convinced that this year will be the year we become everything we have always wanted to be. This time last year I wrote about why I didn’t believe in New Years resolutions, that if you want to change something about your life you shouldn’t wait until the start of a new year, do it whenever you like. While I still agree with last year me, this year I have found myself – or rather the underlying anxiety in me – coming up with endless lists of resolutions. These resolutions are not things I need to give up or change, they tend to be things I need to add to my life, in other words, ways to improve myself.

It wasn’t that 2014 was a bad year for me, in fact I would say it was pretty good as years go. I travelled to seven different countries, in Europe, South East Asia and North Africa, with two of the best companions I could ask for. I continued to write and blog and receive inspiring feedback from all of my readers, as well as reaching my highest views yet. I got a new job and I managed to stay healthy.

This said, I still find it much harder to write about the things I did achieve last year compared to the things I didn’t. Therefore, my mind has gone into overdrive with hobbies I must take up, classes I must start attending, books I must write, jobs I must apply for etc. etc.

I am attempting to think rationally, to think about small things that I could add to my life in order to take bigger steps towards what I want to achieve in the long run. So here I’ve shared my list of ideas – notice the lack of the word “resolution” – for how to have the best year yet. Just in case you are feeling overwhelmed by the January expectations too.

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Write – anything and everything. Makes notes, write a blog, start on one of the books I’ve been plotting in my head for years, try a new style of writing, write more poems.

Organise – start organising every aspect of my life, starting by buying a diary then moving on to my laptop, my room, documents, my wardrobe and so on!

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Eat – and enjoy it. Try new foods, new recipes, cook for others and myself. Learn to appreciate and have fun with food – eating isn’t just a necessity, it’s a life skill.

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Meditate – every now and then, make time to take time out.

Clear out – clutter, work my way through my space one draw/cupboard at a time. I have gathered an unhealthy amount of “stuff” over many years. They say a clear space means a clear mind.

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Laugh – all the time. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh and have a positive influence on your life, as I get older it becomes clearer and easier to recognise these people.

Work hard – at every endeavour, give 100 per cent to everything then I can’t blame myself when something doesn’t work out

Worry less – about everything. Shrug things off. Worry less about worrying less.

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Travel – continue to see the world, visit as many new places as possible and take too many photographs.

Have a good one!

A Resolution is For Life, Not Just For January

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January is upon us now, the resolutions well underway. Smoking, alcohol, food and caffeine are the most popular things that each january millions of us vow to give up in a bid to better our health and rid ourselves of that post Christmas guilt, after weeks of overindulgence and enjoyment. The want to better ourselves is perhaps one of the most beautiful parts of being human, but is there any point in giving something up ‘for January?’ I certainly don’t think so, as someone who doesn’t believe in New Years resolutions.

I am all for eating better, taking up exercise and even drinking slightly less, anything for a healthier life, but these are dramatic lifestyle changes, not habits that’s can be dropped or taken up in the space of a few weeks. Bringing science into the equation, apparently it actually takes 66 days to change a habit, meaning that even if you were to succeed it would take longer than just a dry January. I can’t help but feel that we are just setting ourselves up for a failure, resulting in us only feeling much worse about ourselves when we do eventually give in to the carbs or that glass of red (let’s be honest, I don’t fancy facing the January blues without wine to hand, do you?) It’s a vicious circle.

Then there’s the health aspect, we may have our bodies best intentions at heart when we banish all small pleasures from January’s long days, but restricting one particular food group from yourself for long periods of time is only going to have unhealthy effects on the body and mind. There’s the risk of cravings and obsession and getting caught in that vicious circle again.

I have always believed that if you really want to change an aspect of your life, it shouldn’t take a new year to do. It can be done at any time if you want it enough, mid month, mid-week, even mid-morning! However New Years resolutions don’t have to be a waste of time, they can inspire and offer us a chance to be more positive, so make a different sort of resolution and try adding something to improve your life rather than taking things away. Compliment your friends more, read that book you’ve been meaning to, travel to a different country, write a blog or simply just smile more.