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Struggling to fall asleep at night? Too wired? Brain won’t stopping ticking over? Worrying about all the things you’ve got to do tomorrow? Follow these simple tips below to help you get to sleep quicker and deeper than you ever normally would!

ONE // Reduce stimulation before bed
  • YOUR DEVICES- I am sure you’ve all heard it before but having a cheeky scroll on Insta or watching an episode on Netflix right before bed isn’t the most ideal way to wind down before you sleep. This is because the blue light that mobiles, tv’s and laptop screens produce interfere with the bodies natural production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin production in the body is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light, therefore opting for more warming yellow tones at night is best. How can you achieve this? iPhone- Switch “Night Shift” on in your brightness settings to make the screen colour warmer. Laptop- Download “Flux” and it will create the same effect Night Shift does on your phone. TV- Consider getting to blue light blocking glasses like Whiskey & Stone or Baxter Blue.
  • FOOD/ DRINKS- Try and avoid drinking tea, coffee, alcohol, chocolate or foods high in saturated fats before bed as they can be stimulatory on the body and can also contribute to indigestion/ reflux.
TWO // Learn to switch your brain off
  • WRITE A LIST BEFORE BED- If your like me and your brain switch flicks on as soon as you flick the light off, this one is for you! In your phone (with Night Shift on of course) or on a piece of paper write down ALL the things you need to do tomorrow or anything that keeps popping into your head. It could be as minor as ‘wash hair’ or as big as ‘finish assignment by 6pm tomorrow’. By writing anything and everything down you’re removing the pressure on your sub-conscious to remember all those things because now they are written down and can’t be forgotten for tomorrow!
  • DISTRACT YOUR BRAIN WITH A MEDITATION- If lists don’t work or if my brain chatter just won’t stop cause why not create a whole life narrative at 11pm when I am trying to sleep brain (dahhh) then I put on a meditation from my phone. I personally like to listen to the sound of rain when I can’t sleep, so on the ‘Calm‘ App I put a timed meditation of rain noise on. If you prefer a guided meditation, a breathing meditation or even a bed time story Calm has heaps of options for you! Other great meditation apps include HeadSpace and Smiling Mind. By distracting your brain with an external noise I find the internal noise/ brain chatter quietens and then next minute your waking up to your alarm.
THREE // Practice good sleep hygiene 

Sleep hygiene isn’t just about whether you’ve showered this week or not (hopefully you have), it’s about creating a night time routine that sets you up for a restful nights sleep!

  • Exercise daily and away from bed time- As little as 20-minutes of exercise a day can be enough to improve sleep quality. Just try an avoid fitting it in right before bed time as it can be too stimulatory for some people due to the influx of feel good endorphins. However, the effect of night time exercises differs for everyone, so find what works best for you.
  • Limit day time naps to 30-minutes- Naps throughout the day won’t make up for inadequate amounts of sleep at night. It may however help with improving alertness and concentration during the day.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine- Having a regular bed time routine helps the body recognise it’s time to go to sleep. This could include reading a book, having a light stretch or having a warm bath or shower.
  • Have a pleasant sleep environment- Making sure the room is at a nice temperature (not too hot or too cold), that you have a comfortable pillow and mattress, and that any lights in the room (eg. your alarm clock) are faced away from you or the brightness is reduced is important for having a pleasant nights sleep.

We need at least 7-8 hours of sleep a day to function and thrive as adults! Still having trouble sleeping? Maybe there is something deeper happening! Speak to your Nutritionist about how you can uncover what is causing your poor sleep and what you can do to improve it.

Sweet dreams,

Alex

x

The post 3 Tips for a Restful Nights Sleep appeared first on The Balance of Being.

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As a Nutritionist I am very passionate about using food as medicine, however I will be the first to admit that whilst a nutritionally balanced diet is essential, it is not the only way to improve a clients health outcomes. Therefore, I love working alongside other like-minded health practitioners to ensure your health and wellbeing is optimised in every way possible! Through approaching health holistically, I find that clients can achieve physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing more sustainably.

One of the modalities I have experienced a lot of personal benefits from, as well as seen clients benefit from, is Chiropractic care. Whether you've seen a Chiropractor before, have thought about seeing one or don't know what it is, the lovely Dr. Emily-Rose Finnigan from South West Chiropractic is here to answer all your questions, plus a few more about herself!

What encouraged you to become a Chiropractor?

As I was a very active and sporty child, I needed to look after myself. One of my friends was seeing a chiropractor so I thought maybe I should try that too! So I began seeing a Chiropractor monthly for a maintenance check and I just loved it. Each month I looked forward to my appointment and I just craved the way I felt after an adjustment.  I was in about year 10 when I thought to myself, that’s what I’m going to do. I love it so much, I’m going to help others to experience the same thing.

My parents have always encouraged everything us kids have strived for and with their support I was able to move to Melbourne to attend university and follow my dream.

I have now been qualified working as a chiropractor for 3 years and I absolutely love it.

What do you love most about Chiropractic?

The thing I love most about being a Chiropractor is that everyday I am helping people. Some one can walk in your door not feeling great and walk out with a smile on their face.

I also love the relationships that you build with your patients as you really get to connect with them on a more personal level, and I think that’s important when you live in a small town like Warrnambool.

But, the thing I love about Chiropractic as a whole, is the way it makes you feel. I just love that post- adjustment feeling.

What conditions do Chiropractors treat?

We treat a wide range of conditions. Obviously back and neck pain are the most frequent conditions we see. But we also treat people with sciatica, headaches, vertigo, upper and lower limb conditions, joint pains, muscular conditions, the list goes on!

Can anyone see a Chiropractor?

YES !!! We love to see people of all ages. We cater from newborn babies to elderly. Every BODY can have Chiropractic care.

What can you expect in a Chiropractic appointment?

You can expect a comprehensive history to be taken, an assessment of any imaging that has been taken (x-rays etc), followed by an examination including relevant orthopaedic tests, muscle tests, joint range of motion etc. We will then treat using a range of therapies. We specialise in manual adjusting, soft tissue therapy, dry needling, dynamic taping and low force adjusting (activator, blocks etc).  We will also give home advice and rehab exercise prescription.

How often should you see a Chiropractor?

We recommend that our patients try to stick to a maintenance visit every 4-6 weeks to keep on top of everything.  We tend to see the best results if people aim for this, we do however believe it is a patients choice as to whether they like to do this or not.

Do you believe Chiropractic is holistic?

I believe Chiropractic is a wellness therapy. We look at the body as a whole. Stressors that affect the body can be physical, emotional or chemical and we look at addressing all of these. Chiropractic care works well alongside a range of other therapies.

If you would like any more information about the services Emily-Rose offers at South West Chiropractic please head to their website or Facebook page. Or better yet, if you would like to book in for an appointment with her (I highly recommend) then please contact the clinic (03) 5562 5562.

As a Nutritionist I am very passionate about using food as medicine, however I will be the first to admit that whilst a nutritionally balanced diet is essential, it is not the only way to improve a clients health outcomes. Therefore, I love working alongside other like-minded health practitioners to ensure your health and wellbeing is optimised in every way possible! Through approaching health holistically, I find that clients can achieve physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing more sustainably.

One of the modalities I have experienced a lot of personal benefits from, as well as seen clients benefit from, is Chiropractic care. Whether you've seen a Chiropractor before, have thought about seeing one or don't know what it is, the lovely Dr. Emily-Rose Finnigan from South West Chiropractic is here to answer all your questions, plus a few more about herself!

What encouraged you to become a Chiropractor?

As I was a very active and sporty child, I needed to look after myself. One of my friends was seeing a chiropractor so I thought maybe I should try that too! So I began seeing a Chiropractor monthly for a maintenance check and I just loved it. Each month I looked forward to my appointment and I just craved the way I felt after an adjustment.  I was in about year 10 when I thought to myself, that’s what I’m going to do. I love it so much, I’m going to help others to experience the same thing.

My parents have always encouraged everything us kids have strived for and with their support I was able to move to Melbourne to attend university and follow my dream.

I have now been qualified working as a chiropractor for 3 years and I absolutely love it.

What do you love most about Chiropractic?

The thing I love most about being a Chiropractor is that everyday I am helping people. Some one can walk in your door not feeling great and walk out with a smile on their face.

I also love the relationships that you build with your patients as you really get to connect with them on a more personal level, and I think that’s important when you live in a small town like Warrnambool.

But, the thing I love about Chiropractic as a whole, is the way it makes you feel. I just love that post- adjustment feeling.

What conditions do Chiropractors treat?

We treat a wide range of conditions. Obviously back and neck pain are the most frequent conditions we see. But we also treat people with sciatica, headaches, vertigo, upper and lower limb conditions, joint pains, muscular conditions, the list goes on!

Can anyone see a Chiropractor?

YES !!! We love to see people of all ages. We cater from newborn babies to elderly. Every BODY can have Chiropractic care.

What can you expect in a Chiropractic appointment?

You can expect a comprehensive history to be taken, an assessment of any imaging that has been taken (x-rays etc), followed by an examination including relevant orthopaedic tests, muscle tests, joint range of motion etc. We will then treat using a range of therapies. We specialise in manual adjusting, soft tissue therapy, dry needling, dynamic taping and low force adjusting (activator, blocks etc).  We will also give home advice and rehab exercise prescription.

How often should you see a Chiropractor?

We recommend that our patients try to stick to a maintenance visit every 4-6 weeks to keep on top of everything.  We tend to see the best results if people aim for this, we do however believe it is a patients choice as to whether they like to do this or not.

Do you believe Chiropractic is holistic?

I believe Chiropractic is a wellness therapy. We look at the body as a whole. Stressors that affect the body can be physical, emotional or chemical and we look at addressing all of these. Chiropractic care works well alongside a range of other therapies.

If you would like any more information about the services Emily-Rose offers at South West Chiropractic please head to their website or Facebook page. Or better yet, if you would like to book in for an appointment with her (I highly recommend) then please contact the clinic (03) 5562 5562.

The post Q & A with Chiropractor Dr. Emily-Rose Finnigan appeared first on The Balance of Being.

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I would firstly like to preface this blog by saying I am not doing this for any personal gain sympathy or otherwise, that this is my experience and I am sure it is different to yours, and that this article comes from a place of gratitude and respect.

The last month, and to be honest probably the last few months my presence with The Balance of Being as been dismal to say the least. It was not from a lack of caring, love or respect for this wellness hub I am creating for all of you, it was from my personal life at home taking all my extra time, energy and focus. Being a carer for my Dad had taken its toll and since his recent passing I felt the need to take a step back for a while and look after myself first for once like I always tell my clients to do.

My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 adrenal cancer in September 2012. I was 17-years-old at the time, my brother 15-years-old and my dad only 47-years-old. A very rare cancer, with very few treatment options, which ultimately led to his terminal diagnosis. With little symptoms presenting it was extremely lucky he was diagnosed when he was, with large tumours already developed on his kidney and liver. For those who are unaware, your adrenal glands are little peanut size glands that sit on top of your kidneys and help to regulate the stress hormone cortisol. With the chance of getting adrenal cancer being less than one in a million, dad definitely drew the short straw.

From dad’s diagnosis to his passing he endured chemotherapy, radiotherapy, a trip to Germany for alternative treatment, 5 major surgeries, more hospital visits than one could count, numerous near death experiences and enough prescription drugs to sink a ship. From the beginning he was determined to live for as long as possible, and he wouldn’t have survived the past 5 and a half years without that unrelenting drive to live.

The past 5 and a half years has been the most exhausting, stressful, hard, yet rewarding years of my family’s life. Nothing prepares you for the stress of looking after a loved one who is sick, just as nothing prepares you for loosing a loved one forever no matter how much time you’ve had to prepare. And whilst the last few years have in some sense sucked the energy out of us all, made us think the world can be cruel and given us premature wrinkles and grey hair, what the last few years did give us was extra time. Time to be a family, to create more memories, to get to know dad better and to form stronger relationships with him. Would I trade all of that for him to still be here? Absolutely, I would do anything for that. However, we don’t have that luxury, so being grateful for what we have had instead of what we won’t will always be my saviour.

When I suddenly moved home from Queensland last year I was thrown into a world of practically full-time palliative care for my dad so he could stay at home. I was happy to move home to spend more time with him, take the pressure off my mum and to help out as much as I could. However, those who know me well will know that I am not very good at doing ‘nothing’ (or my version of nothing), hence I started my pilates instructor course and began nutrition consults in Warrnambool. I welcomed the distraction from home and loved that dad got to see me start my business in the big adulting world. I won’t lie and say that looking after dad when he was sick was always glamorous or nurturing for our relationship, somedays it would down right suck. Somedays I would be frustrated that I had to grow up so quickly and take on so many responsibilities, other days I would be so full of gratitude for being able to hear him roar with laughter. It was an emotional roller coaster to say the least!

To help me cope with the emotional roller coaster I have seen a variety of psychologists as well as many other health practitioners over the years, and all I can say is that when you find a practitioner you connect with hold them close! Seeing a psychologist has been one of the best things I could have done for myself and the people around me. Having an external person to vent to, cry to and laugh to has really helped me cope with all the extra pressure and stress I was dealing with. Especially on top of studying a science degree and going through the normal life changes in my early twenties.

Everyone deals with things in life differently and no ones pain can be quantified against another. Therefore, what works for one person may not work for the next. Personally, I think the most important thing to identify when you are going through a hard time in your life is what fills your own cup up. By cup, I mean your feel good, energy filled, nurturing cup that makes you feel like the best version of you! For me having time to myself is how I fill up my cup. Whether it is watching a movie, listening to music or going for a walk by myself, that is how I re-energised myself when I am feeling crappy. For you it might be catching up with your friends, going out for a boogey or going to an exercise class. Everyone is different, but finding your own cup filler and allowing yourself to do those things with zero guilt will serve you and your mental health a world of good, I promise.

TAKE AWAYS…

If you can take anything away from this post, please let it be that asking for help is okay, it is MORE than okay. All of those friends, family and colleagues surrounding you, they will help if they know you need it, the biggest step is asking. And if you don’t feel comfortable talking to your loved ones about it…Then let the professionals step in, a quick visit to your GP and they can set you up for a psychologist referral, or call a help line such as Life Line for a chat. I am so grateful for my support network around me, I’d be lost without my amazing friends and family.

I can’t promise that over the next few months or years to come I won’t have patches where I feel unmotivated, sad and exhausted, grief likes to come and go in waves like that. But I do hope that I will be able to provide all of you amazing humans with lots of recipes, nutrition information, pilates exercises and support, just like you have all been supporting me!

And remember, it is okay to put yourself first. It doesn’t mean your selfish, it just means your giving yourself some well deserved self lovin’!

Alex

x

The post Why I have been M.I.A appeared first on The Balance of Being.

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Whether you have Coeliac Disease like mwah, have a gluten intolerance/ sensitivity or just don’t like to consume a lot of gluten in your diet, finding gluten free alternatives can sometimes be tricky. When I was first diagnosed with Coeliac Disease 7-years-ago (how time flies) the gluten free options were limited to rice, rice, rice, oh and a little bit of potato starch. Delish, right? Thankfully, gluten free products have come a looooong way since then and now I am at the other end of the scale where there is TOO many options… not that I am complaining.

Only problem is that just because something is classified as gluten free doesn’t actually mean it is healthy. Say what? Unfortunately, those (admittedly delicious) choc-chip gluten free cookies at Coles are still packed with just much and if not more sugar, trans fats and fillers than the wheat filled ones. So how do you navigate the world of gluten free alternatives if your a health conscious being like me? Keep reading…

Still want some pasta in your life?

I don’t blame you, pasta is a staple in many households and thankfully you don’t have to miss out! Want the even better news?By swapping to these gluten free pasta alternatives you will be actually INCREASING your daily nutrient intake (winning!!)

  • Zoodles, otherwise known as zucchini that has been spiralized into noodle shapes- an extra veggie added to your day!
  • Black Bean pasta- don’t let the black colour put you off! They are super yummy and packed with loads of protein!
  • Mung Bean pasta- also jam packed with protein!
  • Brown rice pasta/ brown rice vermicelli noodles- full of fibre!
  • Buckwheat pasta- rich source of magnesium and fibre!

All can be found at your favourite health food shop and some supermarkets such as your local IGA. One of my fav pasta meals is with my pesto sauce, yuuuuum.

Can’t live without bread?

Me either, bread is a comfort food for me and saying goodbye to bread forever was never an option. There are a few things to be mindful for when eating gluten free bread though… Has it been toasted in the same toaster as non-gluten free breads? Does the ingredient list contain ingredients you can’t even pronounce/ recognise? And, how much sugar per 100g is there? Answers; If it has been in the same toaster as other bread, it’s not gluten free. Can’t recognise an ingredient? Neither will your body so look for another option if possible. And, if there is more than 6g per 100g of sugar, again try for another alternative.

So what are the best options to go for?

  • Making your own gluten free bread is deeply satisfying and a great way to chuck lots of nourishing ingredients in. A few of my favourite recipes include Jessica Cox’s ‘Gut Friendly Bread‘ and JS Health ‘Signature GF Loaf’
  • Abbott’s Village Bakery- can get from any supermarket
  • Zeally Bay Organic Bakery have a gluten free option now
  • Brown Rice Cakes- great alternative to bread especially when you don’t have access to a toaster
  • BFree Wraps- another great alternative to bread! They bend easy (yay) and are great for packed lunches
Want to do some cooking?

Get baking with these great gluten free alternatives! Just be warned, they don’t make your baked goods rise a much as the gluten containing flours…

  • Coconut flour
  • Almond Meal
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Gluten free flour
  • Green banana flour
  • Brown rice flour
Can’t go past your morning bowl of cereal? Need some crackers for your cheese?
  • Brown rice crackers
  • Quinoa crackers
  • Flaxseed crackers
  • Vegetable chips (Eg. Beetroot or sweet potato chips)
Want something to jazz your meals up with?

Unfortunately, a lot of commercial sauces and condiments have added wheat and barley in them. But never fear, there are still lots of options available-

  • Olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Tamari
  • Coco Amino range- sooooo yummy!
  • Lemon juice
  • Fresh herbs such as parsley, coriander, mint, sage
  • Dried herbs such as turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, paprika
  • Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
  • Black pepper

Being gluten free doesn’t have to mean missing out! Want more information about Coeliac disease or where you can find gluten hiding? Check out these articles below…

Alex

x

The post Gluten Free Alternatives Made Easy appeared first on The Balance of Being.

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Nothing quite beats a big bowl of warming soup on a cold day… And now that I am living back in Victoria there seems to be more colder days than warmer, so soup all round I say! I love soups because they are quick to make, easy to reheat and take to work/ university, and they are so easy to pack with soooo many nutritious ingredients! I enjoy putting as many vegetables in my soup as possible so I am getting a variety of nutrients from each different vegetable and also the flavour is amazing too. Therefore, whilst this is my “pumpkin soup” you will notice it has just as much sweet potato and carrot in it too! I do this to bulk out the soup so my batch lasts longer but also for extra fibre and vitamin A and C.

Additionally, in my pumpkin soup I swap traditional stock for bone broth. Why? Extra gut healing and nourishing benefits of course!! Traditional store bought stocks can be packed full of salt as well as MSG (monosodium glutamate) and hydrogenated vegetable oil, which can contribute to inflammation in the body. On the other hand, bone broth (I use Meadow and Marrow) contains essential amino acids, collagen and is FODMAP friendly for those of you like me can’t tolerate the onion and garlic that is in most commercial stocks. Result? Your gut loves you, your getting an extra source of protein and it tastes next level AMAZING!

NOURISHING PUMPKIN SOUP 

SERVES: 4      TIME: 5 MINUTES PREP + 30 MINS COOKING      DIETARY: GF, DF, FODMAP FRIENDLY

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/4 Jap or 1 Butternut Pumpkin, seeds and skin removed
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 can organic coconut cream
  • 2 tsp. Bone broth concentrate (I use Meadow and Marrow Curry flavour for extra flavour, can use the Natural flavour too)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
METHOD
  1. Chop all vegetables roughly into 3cm cubes
  2. In a large saucepan, place coconut cream, bone broth and chopped vegetables in and bring to the boil
  3. Reduce temperate down to a medium heat and place lid over saucepan for 20 minutes or until vegetables are soft
  4. Once vegetables have cooked through use either a stick blender or a Thermomix/ good quality food processor to blend until smooth
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a dollop of coconut yoghurt!

PS. Want to add a bit of spice to your pumpkin soup? Add a tsp. of Thai Red Curry paste to your saucepan when adding all your other ingredients!

The post Nourishing Pumpkin Soup appeared first on The Balance of Being.

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