The dreaded winter lurgy hit our house a few weeks back – more so in the form of the dreaded man flu for the boy rather than anything too severe for me. As soon as the symptoms started to show, I went to the shop to stock up on fresh turmeric, ginger and lemon, and we had a few shots of this flu tonic over the next few days until we were back to good health – as well as over the following days, just for good measure.
This tonic will put hairs on your chest – but I actually quite like the strong taste. I think it’s quite nice watered down with some warm water and raw honey mixed in, and then sipped, but that’s probably not for everyone. Try it in a smaller dose in the first instance, and if your game, turn it into a full drink to enjoy daily during the flu season to keep the flu at bay.
Fresh ginger root is spicy and pungent, with a lovely strong aroma and flavour and has been used for thousands of years in Asia to treat colds and sickness. Ginger is often used to aide digestion and alleviate symptoms of gastronomical distress and has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties, which may assist in relieving swelling and pain.
Raw turmeric root as a bitter, peppery flavour and a lovely golden colour. As with ginger, it has also been used for centuries in Asian traditional medicine for it’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties. The list of health benefits associated with turmeric is constantly growing as new studies emerge, and includes lowering cholesterol, cancer prevention, reducing the severity of bacterial and viral infections and providing relief for rheumatoid arthritis, among other things.
These zesty little citrus fruits are rich invitamin C which supports immune function and helps fight colds and flus. They have also been shown to be useful in aiding digestion, combating skin aging, and detoxifying and cleansing the liver.
I posted earlier in the week some of my tips on techniques to manage a busy schedule, to avoid stress where possible. And while its easy to forget about healthy eating and just grab something quick on the go when you don’t have time to cook, a little bit of preparation can stock you up with healthy, filling meals for the week. I plan to do a longer post some on meal planning, however the tips below are particularly useful when you get really busy.
Roast some veggies on the weekend for the week ahead. This one does take a little extra time, but a big bunch of roasted veggies will make a great, quick, healthy addition to your meals for the week. To do this, wash/scrub some sweet potatoes, swedes, beets etc – don’t bother wasting time peeling – roughly chop them and then bake. For root veggies, I would roast them at 200 celcius for 50 – 60 minutes, turning halfway through. These veggies can then be blended into soup, tossed in to stirfries or salads, or eat as is with a handful of baby spinach, and a boiled egg/can of tuna/legumes/animal protein
Stock up on canned legumes – chickpeas, beans and lentils are great to add to salads, soups and even your morning smoothies
Make your breakfast ahead – make up a weeks worth of chia puddings, overnight oats, or smoothies. All of these can be thrown together in minutes and placed in individual containers in the fridge ready to grab and go in the morning. Chia puddings and overnight oats can last around 4 or 5 days in the fridge, but smoothies are probably best frozen and then defrosted for the mornings.
If you do grab a take away option for lunch, try to make sure your choices have lots of veggies and a little protein in them. Most quick fix options – even those that seem healthy like salad sandwiches and sushi, can have often contain a lot of refined carbohydrates and little veggies, so choose wisely. Salad bars are often a great idea, you can pick the veggies you like as a base and then add a little protein and other flavours.
To make sure you feel full for the whole day, eggs are a great breakfast option. If you have time, this is a delicious, quick egg dish that will keep you full for hours, and is extremely adaptable. Add some extra protein like smoked salmon, crumbled feta or cottage cheese; fry some mushrooms at the start to add in; toss through some grated veggies; swap the coriander for basil or oregano to change the flavour.
Heat a pan over medium to high heat with the butter.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl, adding a sprinkle of salt and pepper, plus the spices and milk.
Add the egg mixture to the pan leave a few seconds until the bottom starts to set. With a wooden spoon, slowly push the set edges into the middle so that the runny eggs spread out to the sides. Do this a few times until nearly set. Add beans and tomatoes and fold through. Be careful here not to mix the eggs too much, you want them to remain light and fluffy, not scrambled and rubbery.
Serve on a bed of greens topped with the coriander and extra paprika.
We all get busy from time to time, and when things creep up on us and all of a sudden we’re juggling a dozen competing priorities at once its easy to start feeling overwhelmed and stressed. When it comes to being healthy and living a healthy life, it’s important to manage stress levels effectively, as stress can be as bad (or worse!) for you than what a few days of poor diet or skipping the gym can be. That said, it’s often hard to take time out to actually manage and stay on top of our stress levels – but I promise you, taking a few moments to be aware of how you are feeling and taking a few easy steps to help stay on top of your stress levels will pay of in the end.
I have definitely been there too – in fact, I have been skipping my regular Tuesday morning yoga class for a few weeks now due to being too busy and prioritising other things instead. This week however I dragged myself along and afterwards I was so grateful that I got myself out of bed to go (though not so grateful initially when I was running around in 3 degrees at 6.30am throwing buckets over water on the car windscreen!) I spent the first ten minutes of the class thinking “I should have skipped this to go into work early to try and get through the growing mountain of work I have on at the moment”. Shortly in to the class however, the teacher started reciting one of her mantas – “I take time to relax” and I realised that that was exactly what I needed to do. I managed to push all (well, most) thoughts of work to the side for the rest of the class and focus on my practice. It paid off – 50 minutes later I walked out of class feeling relaxed and smiling.
Sometimes, all we need to do when we are feeling stressed is to bring a little awareness to exactly how we are feeling so that we can try to deal with it. I find yoga is a great tool for this. Other times though, this is easier said than done. For these times, here are a few of my tips I use for managing workloads to help deal with stress.
Try to prioritise
In busy times there are often competing priorites – work, family, friends, study, all vying for your attention. Try to reprioritise what you have on – potentially putting of some less urgent activities such as regular social engagements until you have handed in that looming assignment, or leaving the housework for another few days – will the world really end if you leave the dirty dishes in the sink an extra day just this once? Or, if your finances allow, get a cleaner to come in and help out with the housework instead, allowing you more time to focus on other priorities.
Share the love load
When things start to get a bit stressful, negotiate with others – work colleagues, family members, housemates – to see if your workload can be shared or if someone is willing to take a bit of your load. Could you get another parent to run the kids to school, or a work colleague help out with a few of those pesky tasks that have been hanging around for a while and really need to be actioned? Remember to pay it forward though, and to help out in return when things start to quieten down for you.
Get some sleep!
As tempting as it is to stay up until all hours trying to catch up on things, you will feel much better if you aim to get at least 6 – 8 (preferably 8!) hours of sleep per night. Cutting down on sleep should always be avoided – it will lead to poor sleep patterns and fatigue, and tiredness can lead to sugar cravings, which will in turn lead to blood sugar level spikes, which will lead to further sugar cravings – you get the idea.
Vitalise yourself with veggies
Though it may be hard to stick with healthy eating during busy times, this is one of the best things you can do. A diet packed full of vegetables will help ensure you remain feeling healthy and energised. Make a big batch of Superfoods salad which will last a few days in the fridge, a big pot of soup, and some green smoothies. If all else fails, try to grab a green juice to sip on instead of that second or third cup of coffee.
When all else fails, breathe
When things get really stressful, close your eyes and take three, deep breaths. This sounds so simple, but is so often overlooked. It is a great way to center and calm yourself
I’ll be back again tomorrow (hopefully! Or the next day.. :) to share some more tips on how to eat healthy when you’re busy, as well as a healthy breakfast dish for busy mornings (and no, its not a smoothie or oats for a change!) Until then, stay healthy – and stress free x