I have been feeling a little jaded recently and thinking that I am not as healthy as I could be. I do try to eat healthy and I tend to live by the 80/20 rule which is to eat healthy 80% of the time and the other 20% is made up of eating treats such as Bounty Bars or M & S Choc Ices.
I think some of my ‘feeling out of sorts’ is menopause related so I have been doing lots of research about how to improve the way I feel. Although we eat healthy and fill our plate high with vegetables, we can still be lacking in nutrients that are hard to find in foodstuffs. For example, Vitamin D which so many people (especially in the UK ) are lacking in, due to the infrequent appearance of Mr Sun ! Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles and a lack of this vitamin can result in soft bones and bone pain. You can get Vitamin D from oily fish such as salmon but the majority of the source comes from the sun. As a result of this I have recently started taking a Vitamin D supplement which hopefully should help me and my aching bones. ( I have thought that perhaps I should take more holidays in Spain but sometimes this isn’t always practical is it ? Although how amazing would it be if we could get a holiday in the sun on prescription ? )
So I have been shopping at Holland & Barrett recently, which is one of the leading health food stores in the UK, with branches in many towns and cities. I bought a variety of items that I thought would help me in my quest to improve my health, although some of the items are just refills of products that I normally buy.
First up is Coconut Oil. I have been using Coconut Oil for many years before it became fashionable with chefs and health food gurus. Pure, unrefined coconut oil is one of the most versatile and healthiest substances in the world. I use it for cooking and baking and you can even use it as an alternative to butter. Its great for digestion and is a good source of healthy fats. I also use it as a hair treatment after shampooing. Simply apply the hair and leave in for about ten minutes, then rinse off. Of course most of us have heard that coconut oil is an excellent moisturiser, but did you know its also good for preventing wrinkles and for relieving skin irritations. Coconut oil is a good all rounder and a large jar this size can last for months. I keep one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom.
My next kitchen item I bought was Manuka Honey. Again this is something I have used for years and really do feel so much better for using. Manuka Honey originates from New Zealand from the nectar of the manuka tree. It has been used for many years by the Maori community in New Zealand because of its amazing anti bacterial and healing properties. I simply use it by spreading a spoonful on my toast or by adding it to some natural yoghurt. Manuka Honey is graded in strength and experts say it is advisable to get a strength value of 10+ and above to get the real benefit from it. Manuka can be expensive to buy ( unlike the average runny honey on the market ) I paid just under £20 for this small jar but I do feel better for having it, so for me its worth it.
I also bought some Wheatgrass powder as I add it to smoothies and juices every morning. Wheatgrass is a good all round superfood and one serving actually provides one third of our daily recommended iron intake, as well as providing many of our essential vitamins, minerals, protein and fatty acids. Some experts claim it is good for slowing down the ageing process. I had better start eating more then !
To go with the Wheatgrass I also bought some milled Flax, Sunflower, Pumpkin and Sesame Seeds with Goji Berries. Again, I use this in my smoothies and juices and I also sprinkle this onto my cereal every morning. This combination is supposed to be good for menopausal ladies in trying to balance the hormone levels as well as giving a good supply of nutrients, vitamins and essential fatty acids.
Next in my haul comes something that I keep in my bag at all times. My Gin Gins ! No, this is not some cute little bottle of gin that I dip into at times of stress ! I’m talking about Gin Gins, a chewy ginger sweet that is AMAZING for travel sickness or general nausea. I always have these amazing little sweets in my handbag as I am a bad traveller and can often feel quite sickly, especially on country roads ( of which there are a lot near to where I live ) I also gave these to my children when they were younger as journeys could often become a nightmare when travelling with travel sickly little ones. They are individually wrapped which makes them perfect for travelling. I actually eat these when I’m feeling anxious too and I do find them quite calming. I don’t know if its the ginger that is a natural calming ingredient but I do find that they work for me.
I have recently been having problems with my joints and flexibility with general stiffness and quite a lot of pain. After a check up at the doctor I have been told this is normal wear and tear coupled with aches and pains caused by hormone imbalance triggered by the menopause. Now, up to about six months ago I was very active playing tennis, swimming, yoga and going the gym. I stopped going because life caught up with me and I became engrossed in my work. And, dare I say it ? I got lazy. After only a few months of been inactive I was suddenly hit by joint stiffness, pain and generally feeling ‘yuk’. ( Is that even a word ?) Honestly there are no excuses. I was lazy and couldn’t be bothered and now I’m feeling like I have aged twenty years in just a few months. So I am restarting the gym and yoga and I am determined to get back to a good level of fitness. Enough is enough.
Anyway I digress. So I have bought some Magnesium Oil which apparently is great for menopausal women, helping with joint flexibility and stiffness. There are so many benefits of this oil which is so easy to apply. You simply spray onto the skin and massage it in. Done ! No need for tablets. It is also widely known to help with insomnia which is common among menopausal women. As magnesium becomes deficient in a woman as she reaches menopause perhaps this is a good supplement to take. But as always please check with your doctor that you are ok to take this especially if you have any other health conditions.
To go with this issue of joint health I also bought these aromatherapy patches which are a simple patch you pop onto your joints or back. I haven’t yet tried these but as a trained aromatherapist I am a great believer in the power of essential oils, so I will be trying these soon.
My final purchase at Holland & Barrett was a box of Puffed Brown Rice by Rude Health. I have never had this before but I saw them reviewed on another blog and thought I would give them a try. I normally have muesli from Marks & Spencer for breakfast but I thought these would be great for a change. I also want to make some Chocolate Crispie Buns so I thought I would make them using these and dark chocolate as a healthy alternative. Yum Yum.
So that concludes my little healthy haul from Holland & Barrett and I hope you enjoyed reading it and perhaps got some ideas for yourself.
We are flooded by media coverage about what is healthy and what we should be eating and sometimes it’s overwhelming isn’t it ? I think it’s important to try and eat healthy and exercise regularly, whatever our age. If we eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit and cut down on red meat, sweet treats and salty food then we will have the best basis for a healthy body. There are some occasions though, such as menopause, when we need extra help in the form of vitamins or other supplements, so don’t feel a failure if you need to supplement your already good diet. Speak to your doctor in the first instance, as a simple blood test might reveal what you are lacking in. If you follow this with regular exercise and meditation then you are well on your way to the peak of your health and you will feel so much better and able to cope with daily life.
As for me, I am going to book into a yoga class and dig out my swimming costume. There is no time like the present to start on a healthy regime. Let me know your favourite supplements and if you feel a difference when you take them. Do any of you follow a strict exercise regime and how do you manage to stick to it ? I am desperate to know the answer to the last one so any help would be gratefully received.
Until next time,