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The power of practicing gratitude.

“The appearance of things changes according to the emotions, and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves” – KAHLIL GIBRAN

How often do you really think about all the things that you have in your life? Everything that is going well. All the positive things you get to experience everyday. All the people that support you. How often do you say THANK YOU?

💥Why is gratitude so important?💥
• Gratitude helps us to sleep better – practicing gratitude just before bed may assist in creating a solid sleeping routine and improving sleep quality.
• Gratitude reminds us to slow down.
• Gratitude makes us less negative.
• Gratitude may improve relationships – practicing gratitude makes us want to acknowledge and appreciate people more.
• Gratitude reminds us to focus on what we do have, instead of what we don’t. And to therefore stop comparing ourselves to other people.
• Gratitude improves mental health – it gives you the mental strength to tackle each day. It makes you more calm, more positive and less frustrated and anxious. An instant mood booster indeed.
• Practicing gratitude helps to reduce stress.
• Gratitude improves physical health – when we feel better, we do better. So we are more likely to make healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating healthy and moving our bodies.
• Gratitude reduces feelings of anger.
• Gratitude gives us hope.
• Gratitude makes us better people – it creates more empathy, understanding and sensitivity towards other people.

How I started to incorporate gratitude into my daily life?
For those of you that enjoy writing down your thoughts, use a little notebook/journal/diary📔 and spend just 10 minutes a day to write down 3 things that you are grateful for, no matter how big or small. For the rest of you, spend 10 minutes, sitting in silence and keep a mental diary💭 of the things you are grateful for. It is such an easy practice to make part of your daily intentions that can easily become a healthy habit. How and where can you start incorporating gratitude into your day?

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Product focus of the month: OATS(including a sneaky special…)

Oats is becoming more and more popular these days. Not only is it a healthy, nutritious whole food, but it is also inexpensive, easily accessible, so versatile and a little goes a long way. So what exactly is oats? Oats is a cereal grain grown for its seed that is commonly used as livestock feed but also suitable for human consumption as groats(the whole oat grain), steel cut(cut up groats) oats, rolled oats(rolled groats) and quick oats(cut up rolled oats).
Oats is naturally gluten free and can be tolerated by most people, even those with a gluten sensitivity. But since it is processed in factories where other gluten containing grains are also processed, it might be subject to cross contamination. It would therefore not be advisable for people suffering from Celiac Disease to consume normal oats, but to rather opt for certified, gluten free oats.

What makes oats stand out above the rest?
• Oats is extremely nutritious. It is high in Manganese, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Folate, B vitamins, fibre, complex carbohydrates and protein.
• Oats are high in soluble fibre. Benefits of soluble fibre includes reducing LDL and total cholesterol levels, reducing blood sugar levels, increasing feelings of fullness and promoting gut health.
• Oats are rich in antioxidants, including Avenanthramides. These compounds may help to reduce blood pressure.
• Oats is a complex carbohydrate with a low GL(Glycaemic Load). This means that oats gives you a steady supply of energy, keeping your blood sugar levels balanced.

What can you do with oats?
• Have a delicious, warm, healthy bowl of oats for breakfast. See recipe below.
• Home made granola/muesli.
• Overnight oats.
• Add a tablespoon of oats to your smoothie for a fibre boost.
• Use oats in baking, for bread, muffins, cookies, cakes etc., either as rolled oats or oat flour(Simply ground your rolled oats in a blender or food processor).
• Use oat flour as a healthy substitute for wheat flour.
• Oat milk – Soak 1 cup of oats overnight. Simply blend the soaked oats with 4 cups of water and strain using a nut bag/muslin cloth. Keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.
• Use oats/oat flour as a thickener/binder in recipes such as burgers, soups etc.
• Oats can also be used for natural skincare.

Recipe: Creamy breakfast oats(serves 1)
Ingredients:
• ½ cup of oats
• 1 cup water/milk(add more liquid if needed)
• 1 tbsp chia seeds
• 1 tbsp coconut flour
• ½ zucchini(grated)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1-2 tbsp nut butter/nuts/seeds of choice
• fresh/frozen berries

Method:
• Bring the oats and water/milk to the boil and let it simmer until most liquid is absorbed, depending on how creamy you want your oats to be.(Soak oats overnight to reduce cooking time)
• Add the chia seeds, zucchini, coconut flour, vanilla and stir through.
• Top your oats with the nut butter/nuts/seeds and berries.
• Eat it mindfully and enjoy!

****Special on all non-organic oat products(excluding gluten free) until 20 September 2018, when buying 1kg or more****
Whole oats/groats – R20/kg
Steel cut oats – R41/kg
Rolled oats – R24/kg
Quick oats – R25/kg

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NEW SERVICES OFFERED!!!!

I am very excited to announce that Take Outs from Nature will now be offering the following services:

We all know how overwhelming and tiring weekly/monthly shopping can be. You are in a hurry and you just grab the products you always buy. Do you often wonder whether you are really buying the healthiest food/products for your family? Or you just don’t know the healthy alternative to a product you often buy and don’t have the time to figure it out? Or you might be struggling with some food intolerances/allergies? Take Outs from Nature now offers personalised shopping experiences. The services we offer include the following, but is not limited to:
• shopping list reviews. This requires you to send us the products you buy on a weekly/monthly basis(or in fact any product you are curious about) and we help you find healthy/natural/whole food alternatives(if necessary) and also explain the WHY behind it.
• where to buy what, best prices, buying in bulk, etc.
• easy, fuss-free, delicious, healthy recipes and suggestions(recipe suggestions based on your preferences and needs).
• health recommendations(e.g. dietary specific).
• reading nutrition labels to educate and empower you on what to buy and what to look out for.
• healthy pantry and fridge/freezer staples to start your health journey.
• setting health and wellness goals.
• Ongoing support to make the transition to a healthier and happier you easier.

Why not educate yourself, feeling empowered next time you go shopping, knowing you are buying the best products for you and your family. For more info or if you would like to discuss your needs, please email us at info@takeoutsfromnature.co.za or dm us at Take Outs from Nature.

In health and happiness xx

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SLEEP: The missing link to abundant health?

Do you feel that you are doing everything you can for your health but are still lacking energy, struggling to lose weight, feeling stressed, lacking mental strength and having low mood? Sleeping might just be the key to unlocking your health potential. For most, sleeping for at least 7 hours a night, is essential for good health.

What happens when you do not get enough sleep?
• You are more likely to make unhealthy food and lifestyle choices – When you are not getting enough sleep, your metabolism slows down and your appetite goes up, causing you to consume more food than needed, often unhealthy sugar rich foods to give you an instant energy boost.
• Impacts memory, concentration and ability to learn.
• Interferes with problem solving and rational thought.
• Greater risk of accidents.
• More prone to making mistakes and bad decisions.
• Leads to weight gain.
• Increases stress and anxiety.
• Increase risk factors for diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
• Premature aging – leads to breakdown of collagen which ages the skin.
• Kills sex drive.
• Can cause/contribute to low mood and depression.
• Weakens the immune system – your body now has a harder time mounting a response to fight off an infection.

Benefits and importance of getting enough sleep:
• Sleep is a natural appetite suppressant and getting enough sleep can
literally stop or minimise your cravings the minute we start getting enough, and is therefore a powerful way to promote weight loss, which is often over looked.
• Reduce stress.
• Live longer.
• Improve our relationships.
• Improve our tolerance.
• Improves mood – reduce anger and irritation.
• Needed for concentration, memory and productivity.
• Help us to be creative in our work, solving our problems etc.
• Improve our sociability and desire to get out and do things.
• Improve the quality of our work output.
• Increase our motivation for exercise.
• Reduce inflammation in the body.
• Reduce you risk of certain diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
• Reduce headaches/migraines.
• Sleep is important for optimal immune function.
• Help to balance hormones.
• You feel happier, positive, motivated and ready to tackle each day.

IF YOU FEEL THAT SLEEP IS HAMPERING YOUR WAY TO ENJOY OPTIMAL HEALTH AND YOU WANT TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY AND AMOUNT OF SLEEP, SPEAK TO A HEALTH COACH TODAY.

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The Truth about Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has received some bad publicity over the past year. After the American Heart Association(AHA) released a report in 2017 on dietary fat and cardiovascular disease, advising against the use of coconut oil, people start questioning whether they should include it in their diet or not. So what do we make of this information, and is coconut oil really as unhealthy as some make it out to be?

Why has coconut oil been demonised? Coconut oil contains high levels of saturated fat, the ‘feared fat’, almost 90% saturated fat. And according to the AHA’s Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease Advisory, saturated fat increases LDL(bad) cholesterol. This then led to the AHA to make the following statement: “Because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD(cardiovascular disease), and has no known offsetting favourable effects, we advise against its use.” What the report fails to mention is that coconut oil also raises HDL(good) cholesterol. Furthermore, studies have shown that it is low cholesterol, not high cholesterol, that increases your risk of heart disease. And that cholesterol is merely a sign of inflammation in the body, inflammation being the root cause of many diseases, including heart disease. The AHA then recommends replacing these saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats. And while that would have been a good recommendation if people started eating more oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil, people started consuming processed vegetable oils and margarine, high in Omega-6’s but low in Omega-3’s. So what happened? A 2016 review study published in the British Medical Journal looked at what happens when people take saturated fats out of their diet and replace it with processed vegetable oils such as canola, corn and soybean oil. What did they find? Replacing healthy saturated fat with processed vegetable oils increases your risk of heart disease.

Even if coconut oil really is full of saturated fats, are all saturated fats bad? Let us take a closer look at saturated fats. Saturated fats include coconut oil, palm oil and animal fats. We need to understand the type of saturated fat in coconut oil to understand what makes it a healthy, superior oil to include in your daily diet. The saturated fat in coconut oil consists of mainly Medium Chain Triglycerides(MCTs), most of which is Lauric Acid. This is unlike the Long Chain Fatty Acids(LCFAs) in vegetable or seed oils. This MCT is broken down in the body differently, are easily digested, can be utilized effectively by your body, immediately converted into energy and not stored as fat, possibly helping to promote weight loss and boosts HDL cholesterol. Also, when it comes to high heat cooking, coconut oil is your best choice due to its molecular structure, making it quite heat resistant and preventing oxidation.

Some other proven health benefits of coconut oil:
• It is a healthy and safe oil to use in cooking and baking.
• It is easier to digest because of their molecular structure(MCTs).
• It is not readily stored as fat.
• It is antimicrobial and antifungal.
• It reduces inflammation and Arthritis.
• It boosts your immune system.
• It improves brain health.
• It improves energy and endurance because it provides you with immediate, longer, sustained energy.
• It improves skin issues such as dry skin, burns, Eczema, dandruff, Dermatitis and Psoriasis.
• It prevents gum disease and tooth decay.
• It may be beneficial for weight loss.
• It provides hair care benefits.
• It may help with balancing your hormones.
• And much, much more….

As we have seen, in general, the recommendations from the AHA’s report is oversimplified and short sighted. It is important to remember that we are all different and we have different needs. Some of us will do well by following the AHA’s recommendations and replace the saturated fats with healthy fats from oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil. But the truth is that most of us replace the saturated fats with processed vegetable oils. So is coconut oil healthy then? The truth is that saturated fat, including coconut oil and animal fat from grass-fed sources, is necessary for optimal health and are not the ones to blame when it comes to heart disease. It is in fact sugar, trans fats, refined grains and processed and refined foods that are the real villains. So yes, for optimal health, include moderate amounts of cold pressed, extra virgin coconut oil in your diet and lifestyle to enjoy the many health benefits it has to offer. Since we are all different, finding a balance and really listening to your body, is key.

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Back to school/work lunch box snack ideas

With the new term being back in full swing, the everlasting struggle of finding healthy snacks to pack into the kiddies lunch boxes, or your own, is real. Worry no more, I have got you covered with a few simple, healthy options that the kids and you will love(hopefully :)).

Kiddies/work lunch box snack ideas:
• Leftovers!! Saves you time, energy and money.
• Fresh fruit: apples, citrus fruit, papaya, berries, banana etc.
• Veggie sticks/seeded crackers and hummus/nut butter/tahini.
• Home made veggies chips.
• Nuts and seeds.
• Greek/coconut yoghurt and berries.
• Biltong.
• Popcorn.
• Home made banana bread.
• Dried fruit and nuts/seeds.
• Boiled eggs.
• Roasted chickpeas.
• Home made, healthy savoury/sweet muffins.
• Home made vegetable juice/smoothies.
• Nuts/seeds and berries.
• Apple with nut butter.
• Brown rice cakes/oatcakes with almond butter and cinnamon.
• Santa Anna Corn chips and home made dip.
• Home made energy/protein bars.
• Banana and oat pancakes.

As you have noticed, I am very fond of the word home made. Why? Because not only is it cheaper most of the time, but you have complete control over the ingredients you use. So if you would like recipes for any of the above snacks, please do not hesitate to contact me.

What do you/your kiddies enjoy? Let us share some ideas, tips and tricks and help a each other out.

Have a happy, healthy and waste free week,
Lize

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Home made trail mix

An easy, quick, affordable, filling and nutrient dense snack for the whole family. It is so versatile, you can add any nuts, seeds, dried fruit etc., making it a powerhouse of nutrients. Throw it all together on a Sunday to last you the whole week for that crucial 4/5pm daily snack or kiddies lunch box. All ingredients listed below can be bought from Take Outs from Nature.

INGREDIENTS:
• Nuts – Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecan nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, etc.
• Seeds – Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, etc.
• Dried fruit – Mango, berries, coconut flakes, dates, raisins, etc.
• In fact, add anything else you would like to. 🙂

METHOD:
Mix all the ingredients together.

TIP:
• Activate your nuts and seeds before hand to break down the phytic acid to ensure the nutrients are easily available for your body to absorb.
• Divide the mix into small snack size packs for an easy ‘on the go’ snack/lunch box option.
• Add this mix to smoothies, oats, salads, etc. as a delicious topping.

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You are enough

No long blog post today, just something special I received from a friend that I would like to share with you. It is something that I am very passionate about and something we do not give nearly as much attention as needed, especially in the world we live in today. This video summarises it in a very powerful message. Click here to watch the video, it is only 5 minutes, and it is worth it.

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The importance of iron in the diet

Understanding the importance of iron
Iron is a trace mineral and is the element used by the body(red blood cells) to produce haemoglobin, the substance responsible to carry oxygen to the body’s tissue. About 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women, and 3% of men do not have enough iron in their body. Iron deficiency is therefore the most common known form of nutritional deficiency. And in most cases the solution is just to eat more iron rich foods. There are two types of iron: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is derived from haemoglobin and is hence present in animal foods that originally contained haemoglobin, such as meat, fish and poultry. Your body absorbs the most iron from heme sources. Most non-heme iron is from plant sources. Recommended dietary allowances(RDAs) for men over the age of 19 and women over the age of 51 are 12 mg per day and for women aged 19 to 50, the RDA is 18 mg per day.

Most common symptoms of an iron deficiency
• Extreme fatigue
• Weakness
• Difficulty concentrating
• Pale skin
• Shortness of breath
• Dizziness.

Iron rich foods and how to boost iron absorption
• Spirulina
• Liver
• Red meat
• Eggs
• Beans and legumes
• Green leafy vegetables
• Raisins
• Fish
• Poultry
• Nuts and seeds
• Wholegrains
• In more severe cases, consider an iron supplement
• Vitamin C and Vitamin B enhance iron absorption
• Also make sure that you have sufficient stomach acid/digestive juices to absorb nutrients.

If you are often experiencing any of the above symptoms, I would highly recommend you see a naturopath to test your iron levels. If you are indeed iron deficient(sometimes the above symptoms may also point to another problem), they can help you get to the cause of the deficiency and supply a treatment plan. An iron test is inexpensive and consists of a simple finger prick and the results are almost instant. If an iron deficiency is not picked up, it may lead to serious health concerns. In most cases, an iron deficiency can be prevented and treated by making simple dietary changes. The best way to prevent iron deficiency is to educate yourself about your iron needs and the best iron sources for your body, and to use this knowledge to make sure your dietary intake is sufficient.

In health and happiness,
Lize

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Done is better than perfect

Perfect is defined as ‘as good as it is possible to be’. Note the use of the word ‘possible’. Does this not then mean that there exist no such thing as perfection but rather that perfection is defined differently by each one of us? Yet, we so often let that word control us.

Studying again after 4 years of working full time, was a big adjustment for me. Not only was I running my own business and doing many side projects, but I was now in control of what I spend my time on. Anybody’s dream, right? Not so fast. Very soon, course work and assignments picked up and became more challenging, the business grew and life happened. And for an A-type personality like me, who wants everything done perfectly, it hit me hard. I started putting immense pressure on myself to get everything done my way, i.e. ‘perfectly’. But I soon realised how little I was actually getting done, so I decided to take a step back and see how I could approach the situation differently. I had to shift my focus. Instead of focusing on the fact that with limited time, I could not do everything ‘perfectly’, I focused on how much more I will be able to do with the time I have, if I did not do everything ‘perfectly’.
And that meant removing the word ‘perfect’ from my vocabulary. But it did not mean not giving my best. It simply meant doing what I can, when I can and with the resources I have. I was still moving forward and I was getting more done. Yes, it is a mindset change and it is not easy, but the amount of pressure that it relieves you from, makes it something to work towards.

We are all busy. We juggle family, friends, work, hobbies etc. And we strive to be ‘perfect’ in all of those areas. But is it maybe robbing you of joy in one of those areas? What is the impact on you and those around you? Because it is then when it becomes unhealthy.

What can you do today that will move you one step closer to your dreams? No matter how big or small because remember, done is better than perfect.

In health and happiness,
Lize