A couple of months back, you might remember I mentioned how much I love my new juicer. Since then, I’ve been thinking about juicing vs. blending and which is better? Does one offer more health benefits than the other?
Following hot on the heels of the gluten-free phenomena, juicing seems like the latest in a series of crazes taking over trend setting cities like New York. I think both juicing and blending are very beneficial, but in different ways. Juicing extracts the juice of the fruit or vegetable, while blending uses the whole fruit or vegetable, along with some liquid, to form a puree. Personally, I prefer juicing to blending based on the fact I always feel so clean, fresh and energized afterward.
If followed in moderation, juicing or blending can be a part of a healthy diet. Today, I wanted to share some tips and one of my favorite recipes. Tell me… have you tried juicing or blending? Which do you prefer?
Juicing and Blending Tips:
1. It’s best not to combine fruits and vegetables (unless it’s apple), as this messes with your digestive enzymes. It doesn’t seem to matter too much in green juices and smoothies, but vegetables like carrots, beetroots, broccoli and zucchini don’t combine well with fruit (due to their high starch content). Green leafy veggies combine well with pretty much everything.
2. Try to drink your juice or smoothie straight away, as after 15 minutes, light and air will destroy much of the nutrients. If you can’t drink it straight away, transfer the juice to a dark airtight container until you’re ready.
3. Clean your equipment after each use. Otherwise, pulp will get caught in the machine and oxidize making your next juice unpleasant.
Lately, I’ve been reflecting on everything we talk about and I would like to sharing more relating to health, fitness and beauty. I always intended Style Elixir to be a lifestyle blog, so in addition to fashion, I hope you enjoy these other topics too.
I wanted to start things off by sharing one of my recent addictions with you… the good thing is though, it’s healthy! I’m not sure what it is or why, but over recent months I have become a lot more conscious of the things I eat. I think I’ve finally realized the old adage is true… “you are what you eat”. If you put good things in, your body will thank you for it.
When we’re always so busy and on the go, it can be hard to eat healthy – and there are so many temptations! I’m a big snack person, so to help me keep on a healthy eating path (while still indulging my love of snacks!), I’ve started packing a little container of nuts and raisins in my handbag. They are perfect – quick, easy, not messy and give me a sweet little kick along when I feel like it. Are you a snack lover too? What are some things you pack in your bag or keep at the office?
Over the last few weeks, I’ve taken the whole nut thing to another level… I read about ‘activated nuts’ and wanted to give it a try! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me in the midst of activating almonds over the weekend…
The crisp, crunchy texture of nuts make them a fabulous snack. They also add a delicious flavor to any meal, are relatively inexpensive and easy to cook with at home, or to bring when you’re on the go. Nuts are a nutritious snack – they have so many important nutrients, such as calcium (found in brazil nuts and almonds), vitamin E, magnesium and fiber. They are also an excellent source of protein and healthy fats (such as monounsaturated and poly-unsaturated fatty acids), which are important for your mental and physical wellbeing.
The process of ‘activating’ nuts is like a natural sprouting process. An ‘activated nut’ is basically a nut that has been soaked in water for 7-12 hours, then left to dehydrate. This process is specifically used to release enzyme inhibitors, which interfere with the absorption of minerals in your body.
A lot of people are quite sensitive to raw (un-activated) nuts and seeds, which as a result can lead to stomach cramps, bloating and constipation. When you soak the nut, you can essentially trick the nut into starting to sprout. This is a really good thing, because the sprouted nuts have nutrients that are far more easily digested. Perfect for the body!
If you buy raw nuts, it’s simple to activate them at home (see recipe below). The soaking and dehydration time can take up to a day, however the actual preparation time is less than a few minutes. This recipe works well for all nuts (except cashews… they only need to be soaked for 3-6 hours and can go slimy if soaked for longer!).
Once activated, the nuts can be eaten just like regular, raw nuts – add them to your breakfast muesli, salad mix or keep them in your office drawer as a tasty snack. If you are gluten intolerant, another clever trick is to make your own activated nut flour (instead of using standard all purpose flour). This is easy to do with a basic food processor… you only need to grind the nuts into a smooth, flour-like consistency and then store them in a zip lock bag in the fridge or freezer (where it can be kept for several months).
Keen to try some activated nuts? It’s super easy, I promise! This table I found from Lorna Jane shows you the different nut soaking times, drying times, as well as how much salt to use for every cup of nuts.
HOW TO ACTIVATE NUTS:
1. Dissolve salt in enough water to cover the amount of nuts/seeds you are activating
2. In a large bowl place your nut or seed of choice
3. Cover with the salt-water mix
4. Soak for the required number of hours
5. Strain and rinse the nuts
6. Spread over a baking tray
7. Dry in the oven for around 12-24 hours. Set the oven at the lowest temperature possible. Turn them occasionally.
Have you ever tried to do activated nuts? Do you think it’s something you would try?
If you do, I’d love to know how it goes and your thoughts!
Today, I wanted to share with you something I have become seriously obsessed with… juicing! For Chris’s birthday recently, he wanted a juicer and after hours (and hours) researching online, I found the perfect one (it’s a Breville Juice Fountain – and currently on sale! For an extra 25% discount, use code FRIENDS). Juicing certainly isn’t anything new, but more and more people seem to be getting into it – after all, just look at the number of juice bars that have opened! But even better than this, it’s now super easy to create fresh and healthy juices at home. Before I get into specifics, I would like to mention this isn’t a sponsored post at all, I just love my new juicer and want to share the inside scoop with you.
I’ve noticed many benefits and I’ll warn you, it quickly becomes addictive! The biggest ones are an improvement in my skin (it seems clearer and brighter), as well as increased energy levels. I also used to find it hard to eat the amount of fruit and veg I should have everyday, but through juicing, it’s simple to get lot’s of nutrients in one delicious hit! If juicing is something you’re interested in, I thought I’d explain more about the type of juicer I chose and share some of my favorite recipe combinations…
I must admit, I was a little naive when I began my juicer search, but quickly discovered there are two main types of juicers – centrifugal and cold press.
Today is Monday… the start of a brand new week, where anything is possible and if you want to start a healthy new habit, it’s the perfect time. Lately, I’ve been so busy and feeling a little overwhelmed. I’m not sure if you’re like me, but when this happens sometimes exercise is the first thing I put on the back-burner. This isn’t a good thing, as I know it can be an amazing way to cope with stress and clear your mind. So this week, I’m determined to get back into a regular exercise routine – whether that’s as simple as a walk each morning before work, or fitting in a pilates class on a couple of evenings.
I’m sure you can relate when I say this, lately I’ve been feeling like life just rushes by so quickly. Days pass in a flash, weeks go flying at breakneck speed and before we know it, we’re ringing in another new year.
With smartphones the norm, we’re constantly expected to be connected. It’s almost impossible to switch off from the world and take a moment all to yourself, simply to just be. I must admit, I’ve struggled with this in recent months. However, I read an article last weekend about being in the now, appreciating the little things and truly soaking in those seemingly insignificant moments, that I’m sure years from now we may look back on and yearn for so palpably.
It’s called mindfulness – and in the multi-tasking world we live in today, practicing it is certainly an art form. With origins in Buddhism, Yoga and Taoism, mindfulness is all about purposefully paying attention to and fully experiencing the present moment. I’m sure we’ve all driven somewhere and later realized we don’t actually remember the journey we took, or eaten a meal without truly tasting it.
|For moments of mindfulness, look to Instagram! Stop to smell the roses, spend time with those you love, truly taste and enjoy your food and champagne, feel your feet on the ground and take moments just for you.
Practicing mindfulness has a number of benefits, the key aspect is the ability to become more connected to not only ourselves, but also the people and the world around us. It can help us understand situations with enhanced clarity, respond to difficult circumstances better and be more resilient in work or home life. Even Google is on board. The company has trained more than one thousand of their employees in mindfulness, recognizing it’s capacity to bring innovation and creativity to the work place, as well as improve wellbeing.
I love the sound of this, I think it’s so easy to become disconnected and live life on auto-pilot. This week, I’ve tried to become more mindful, even through simple little things. Like each morning and night, as I’ve been walking to and from work, I have left my phone in my handbag (I admit, I have gone to reach for it a few times and had to say “no, don’t!” to myself). Without having my head in the phone, I actually take in what’s around me, hear sounds I normally wouldn’t notice and see the sun, city lights or the moon.
One person who I truly admire for her mindfulness is Casey Wiegand. Her blog is amazing, filled with words and beautiful images that capture the little moments we later look back on and cherish. I always feel refreshed, inspired and connected after a visit to Casey’s blog (she’s also one of the sweetest people you’ll meet!). If you would like to join me and add more mindfulness to your own life, I thought I’d share some of the tips I have discovered…
Is mindfulness something you would also like to work on adding more to your life?
Do you have any of your own tips for being more present and connected? Which tip would you like to try?
I was really surprised to hear of Angelina Jolie’s recent decision to have a double mastectomy. I’m not sure if you’ve read about it or not yet, but her beloved mother, Marcheline Bertrand, sadly passed away from breast cancer a few years ago. Angelina discovered she too had the gene and therefore her risk of also developing this was very high.
I must say, I really do have such incredible respect for her – making a decision to take a preventative step such as this wouldn’t have necessarily been easy. I admire Ange for taking control of her future and piece of mind. When I read things like this, I can’t help but think, what would I do? I believe I would do the same.
Between Angelina and the beautiful Giuliana Rancic, who have each recently undergone this procedure, it’s brought to the forefront a renewed realization that this isn’t just something that happens to someone else, or something that you’re too young to have. Unfortunately, I think at some point our lives, or the lives of people we know, have sadly been touched by this form of cancer.
We owe it to ourselves to protect our health as best we can and early detection is so powerful in the fight against breast cancer. They say knowledge is power, so I wanted to share with you today some information and tips I found through the organization Bright Pink…
EARLY DETECTION IS EVERYTHING
Breast cancer symptoms can vary widely, from lumps to dimpling of the skin to changes in breast size, shape and color. It is important to get to know what is normal for your body and bring any changes that do not go away to your doctor’s attention.
What is Normal…
- Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
- Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling
If These Symptoms Don’t Go Away, See Your Doctor…
- A lump, which can feel like a frozen pea
- Swelling, soreness or rash
- Warmth, redness or darkening
- Change in size or shape of either breast
- Dimpling or prickling of the skin
- New pain in one spot that does not go away
- Persistent itching
- Bumps that resemble bug bites
When checking your breasts, be sure to check up to your collar bone, in to your breast bone, over to the sides and in your armpits. If you notice any changes, grab a journal, mark what the change is, where it is occurring on the breast and record the date.
Check back two weeks later and if it is still there or has become worse, visit a doctor you trust. Keep in mind that it does not mean you have cancer. In fact, 80% of breast lumps are not cancerous and there are a variety of reasons your body can develop changes. For example, breast tissue responds to our bodies’ normal hormones. That’s why some of us feel tenderness or lumpiness in our breasts around our periods. If a lump or change goes away after your period is over, chances are it’s nothing to worry about.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
- Limit your fat intake. Research shows a modest decrease in invasive breast cancer in women with a low–fat diet. Fill up on cancer–fighting foods like fruits and vegetables, and eat red meat sparingly.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. There’s a clear link between obesity and breast cancer due to the excess estrogen production in fatty tissue.
- Make exercise a part of your daily life. Regular exercise for 30 minutes or more on most days can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.
- Cut back on cocktails. There seems to be some link between alcohol and breast cancer, although scientists don’t really know how strong.
- Don’t smoke. While there is limited research that suggests smoking cigarettes may be linked to breast and ovarian cancer, there is a direct link between tobacco use and many other cancers (not just lung or other oral cancers).
Research has shown that certain foods can actually help decrease your risk of developing cancer. These cancer-fighting foods are not only nutritious, they are usually inexpensive and a natural way to take action and manage your health.
- Vitamin A: Researchers have found that this powerful vitamin can actually reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in those who have a family history of the disease. Carrots, sweet potatoes, dried herbs, and leafy greens are all rich in vitamin A.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is known to help reduce the incidence of breast and ovarian cancer by slowing the growth of cancer cells.The best way to get more vitamin D in your diet is by eating fatty fish (such as salmon), but it can also be found in milk, fortified cereal, orange juiceand eggs.
- Fiber: This nutrient found in whole grain, flax, certain cereals, beans and vegetables has been shown to reduce estrogen levels, which in turn can slow the growth of cancer cells in the breasts. When shopping, swap your white bread with whole grain bread, white rice with brown rice, and sugary cereal for a cereal rich in fiber and the vitamins listed above.
- Fruits and Vegetables: In general, fruits and vegetables carry the vitamins and nutrients that can help lower your risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Aim for at least five servings a day and try to include lots of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach. To download a cancer fighting foods shopping list, just click here.
With more scientific evidence emerging, it’s clear that chemicals in our environment play a role in altering our biological processes. We now know that exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation are connected to our breast cancer risk.
Some risk factors for breast cancer, such as our family history, can’t be helped. But the good news is particular environmental factors are within our control. Get to know the chemicals that have been linked to breast cancer and learn what you can do to limit your exposure, thereby reducing your risk of breast cancer.
- Choose cleaning products and personal care products that fully disclose ingredients, including the components of fragrance. Synthetic fragrance can contain dozens of chemicals, such as phthalates and synthetic musks that disrupt the body’s hormones. (More details here)
- Select stainless steel or glass for drinking water to reduce exposure to BPA (a hormone disruptor) and replacements for BPA in plastic, many of which behave like estrogen. (More details here)
- Learn to read the labels of cosmetics and personal care products. This can help avoid synthetic chemicals (like those ending with -PEG and -eth) and ensure that companies who make claims of “organic” and “natural” really are organic and natural. (More details here)
I hope this little snapshot of information may help you take control of your health too. If you’d like to read more, the Bright Pink website
is a great place to start.
Do you have regular doctor’s check-up’s for your health in general? This is something I want to get better at making the time to do.
I am sure I won’t be alone here when I declare, I’m a serial multi-tasker. Even right this second… I’m writing to you, trying to get in bites of dinner, drink a glass of wine, catch up on The Real Housewives, download music for my iPod, chat to Chris and make a mental list of things to do at work tomorrow!
I find it almost impossible these days to simply sit on the lounge, relax and watch a movie. I feel like I need to be doing something and using my time wisely, so I’ll frequently mix this with painting my nails, reading magazines or responding to emails. Not to mention my multitasking efforts at work!
It’s exhausting – and yet the list doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. Can you relate to this too?
I don’t think it’s uncommon either. I noticed Chris cooked his chicken breast fillets in the same pot simultaneously with his eight boiled eggs yesterday – to save time and utensils apparently (“less washing up for you”, he said). I actually took a photo to show you, but on second thought it truly is a little grotesque.
Recently, I read an article about the phenomenon of multitasking (yes, I was also watching tv, waiting for my nails to dry at the time) and found the content really resonated with me. In this, Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction and Get The Right Things Done, explained some incredible facts about the multitask epidemic… Did you know, being distracted by an incoming email while on the phone saw people experience a 10-point drop in their IQ? Apparently, that’s the equivalent of losing a night’s sleep, or twice the effect of smoking marijuana.
Peter also mentioned that we think we’re getting more done by doing several things at once, but in reality, our productivity is reduced by as much as 40%. He said we don’t actually do more than one task, we simply shift from one thing to the next, interrupt ourselves and lose time in the process. And all these years, I thought I was being ridiculously efficient…
|An example of my multitasking, albeit one of the more fun versions…
Research also shows that heavy multitaskers are even worse than light multitaskers at doing many things. Wait, what?!
This made me realise, not only are people performing poorly in the task(s) at hand, but they’re also missing out on what’s happening in the world around them. I can’t even count the number of times I walk somewhere and I’m completely engrossed in my phone. I miss everything that’s going on – and now as I think about it, that’s sad.
I’ve decided to make a new resolution to live more in the moment, to try – even just for a week – to do one thing at a time. Only when I’m finished a task, will I move onto the next. I wonder if it will be liberating or daunting? Either way, it’ll be a good experiment to see whether my level of efficiency is helped or hindered.
What do you think? Place your bets in the comments!
As part of this, I also want to try some tips I found for combatting multitasking. My favorite three are…
So this is what I’ll be attempting over the next week… if you’d like to, try it with me!
I’m trying to get up early before work each day to do a little exercise and I find it so hard without good music! To kick start this, I desperately need to download some new songs for my iPod. I have my favorites of course, those tracks that always get you moving. I wanted to share these with you and also find out your recommendations! I’d love to download lot’s of new music, so please share the songs you enjoy working out to – together we’ll create the ultimate playlist!
These are some of my workout tracks on high rotation…
2. Scream & Shout, will.i.am (feat. Britney Spears)3. Pursuit of Happiness, Kid Cudi (Steve Aoki Extended Remix)4. Superbass, Nicki Minaj5. I Love It, Icona Pop (feat. Charli XCX)6. Don’t You Worry Child, Swedish House Mafia (feat. John Martin)7. Play It Loud, The Black Eyed Peas8. Levels, Avicii9. Feel So Close, Calvin Harris10. Global Concepts, Robert DeLong11. Changed The Way You Kissed Me, Example12. Cinema, Benny Benassi (feat. Gary Go)13. Kids, MGMT14. Vanished, Crystal Castles15. And I Was A Boy From School, Hot Chip16. Shooting Stars, Bag Raiders17. Someone Great, LCD Soundsystem18. Like A G6, Far East Movement19. Champagne Showers, LMFAO20. Dance The Way I Feel, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool21. Sleepyhead, Passion Pit22. Anywhere, The Presets23. My Girls, Animal Collective24. Home, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros25. Girl And The Sea, The Presets26. Closer, Kings of Leon (Presets Remix)
It’s so hard to play favorites with my songs – there are many I felt bad about not including!
Also, I know they aren’t exactly in the Top 10 hottest tracks right now, but quite a few of these just seem to have been with me for years. Some are upbeat and repetitive (perfect for running), some towards the end are a little slower (perfect for a cool-down or stretch), but regardless they hold a beloved place in workouts! Music is one of my most adored things, it’s always brilliant to discover something new.
So please share your exercise tracks, I’d love to add them to my playlist – and hopefully you’ll discover some new ones to include on yours!
I’m so excited to introduce you to today’s featured advertiser, Alison from Get Your Pretty On!
When I first discovered Alison’s blog, it was love at first click. Then I was lucky enough to get to know her and she is one of the sweetest people! Alison creates beautiful photo shoots, plus she definitely knows her fashion – and the best part is that it’s real and relatable style, outfits you or I could easily wear. Like so many of us, Alison’s caught the leopard love bug too and also has a penchant for making her own rules when it comes to fashion! Want to wear white jeans in winter? Alison’s got you covered. Need to glam up a ball gown? You’ll find the perfect inspiration here.
Alison also hosts a weekly link-up, where you can share anything that makes you feel pretty! It could be outfits, beauty tips, health or wellness… anything! It’s on every Wednesday, which means you can link up now! I’m sure Alison would love you to go say hi on Facebook, Twitter or get inspired on her Pinterest!
I hope you all enjoy a fabulous Wednesday – I can’t wait to hear your workout playlist recommendations!
What do Kim Kardashian, Bethenny Frankel, Gisele Bundchen, Jessica Biel and Beyonce have in common? Aside from dazzling careers, money in the bank and closets bigger than most homes, they each have fantastic physiques!
Gone are the days of a boring workout! There are so many new and creative options to get fit, lose weight and tone up – all while having a fabulous time. I’ve done a little research and discovered the top celebrity workouts…
Uniquely mixing the elements of pilates and boxing, Piloxing is one of the latest exercise crazes to hit Hollywood! With studios popping up all over the world and a DVD too, this brainchild of Swedish dancer and celebrity trainer, Viveca Jensen, is all about empowering women – both mind and body. If you’re after the strength, speed and agility of boxing, combined with the flexibility and sculpting powers of pilates – Piloxing is one super fun workout you have to try! Celebrity fans include Hilary Duff, Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens.
A staple for many of Hollywood’s hottest celebs, including Jessica Biel, Kim Kardashian, Sandra Bullock and Katie Holmes, Barry’s Bootcamp was voted “Best Celebrity” workout by Allure magazine and has been the topic of much discussion in publications like The New York Times, People, US Weekly and Vanity Fair. With studios in the US and UK, Barry’s Bootcamp has been operating since 1998. Combining intense cardio and strength training, each session is reported to burn a massive 1,000 calories! So if your current workout doesn’t include trainers who look like movie stars, night club lighting and the latest music, maybe you need to see Barry!
Heralded as “the most targeted body-sculpting workout”, The Bar Method integrates the fat burning of interval training, muscle shaping of isometrics, elongating attributes of dance and the science of physical therapy to create a workout that reshapes your body. Drew Barrymore has said it “just knocks your butt off” and other A-list fans include Dakota Fanning, Kelly Osborne, Denise Richards and Dita Von Teese. With studio locations and a range of DVD’s, The Bar Method is a fun new way to create long, lean muscles, reduce body fat, improve posture and your strengthen abs.
Having worked with people like Bethenny Frankel and LeAnn Rimes, this trainer to the stars has a series of dvd workouts you can do in the comfort of your own home. Kristin has created the S3 – Strong, Sexy + Svelte DVD, a series of three 25 minute workouts including YogaTone, Pilates and Yoga Flow. Plus she’s thrown in a five minute cardio blast at the end for good measure! If you’re after a long, lean, toned physique without leaving your lounge room – this may be the option for you!
Used by celebs including Gisele Bundchen, Gwen Stefanie and Jennifer Lopez, this total body workout was originally created by the US Navy Seals (yikes!) and focuses on strength, conditioning and functional training. TRX resistance training tools are portable and can be set up anywhere and everywhere… parks, hotel rooms, stairwells, garages – now there’s no excuses! With hundreds of exercises that build core stability, power, flexibility and endurance, it’s a great way to really get in-tune with your body and work at your own pace to achieve the results you want.
A worldwide sensation, chances are you’ve heard of this and it’s one seriously intense workout! But as they say… no pain, no gain. Fans include Jessica Biel, Cameron Diaz and Madonna. A session includes things like cardio, weightlifting, kettlebell’s and plyometrics. As you progress, so does the difficulty level – a key aspect is learning to really push yourself. Quite a few of my friends are CrossFit devotees and they have become obsessed. I swear, it’s like a cult (or “community” as it’s called). Be warned… once you start, it’s all you talk about!
Which workout sounds best to you? Have you ever tried any of these?
What’s your favorite way to keep fit?
The thing I adore about Andrea’s blog is that she covers it all! Not only is she a self-confessed shopaholic, she’s also an aspiring professional photographer, wine lover and pretty impressive chef in the kitchen!
If you want to learn everything there is to know about Andrea, she’s put together this handy little post. To give you a sneak peek… she’s a Physicians Assistant, necklace addict, Marine wife, big sister and total creative! (Umm, is there anything she can’t do?!)
|Andrea’s fab style!
Oh and if you’re a wine lover too, Andrea’s shared her favorites here – plus a fab recipe for Creamy Pesto, it looks delish. The big question is… when’s Andrea having me over for dinner? I imagine a fun evening of food, wine and some necklace shopping online! I think you’ll like Andrea as much as I do… you can visit her at The Blonde Ambitions, get inspired on her Pinterest, or say a friendly hi on Twitter!
Happy Wednesday to you all – the week is flying by. Have a fabulous day – and I’d love to hear your thoughts on these celeb workouts!
After all the deliciousness of Christmas and seriously ridiculous amounts of food, it’s almost time to squeeze into my New Years Eve dress… and I’m starting to wish I’d had a few less helpings of turkey (oh ok, my downfall was probably all the pudding, rum balls and cookies).
With the New Year fast approaching, I’m not one to make impossible resolutions that I’ve failed at before January 2nd. As mentioned yesterday in Dream BIG in 2013, this year I am setting goals instead – and positive ones, things I want to do (rather than “I will not…”). After reading this article, I thought should probably take on board some of the tips below and try to live a leaner, healthier 2013.