Sunday, November 29, 2009

Building Willpower And Determination

Yesterday I had possibly one of my best classes all year. Nothing so special about that of course, except that I had absolutely no, actually make that I had negative desire to practice before leaving home. Having averaged 5-6 hours sleep per night since my daughter was born 2 1/2 weeks ago (and that’s 5-6 hours broken sleep), my willpower to workout is at an all time low. And in theory, what does it matter? Nobody expects me to be in perfect shape anytime so soon after having a baby.

Of course there’s just a couple of teensie problems with those theories. Firstly, nobody else might expect me to whip myself back into shape at warp speed, but I certainly would like to! And physical stuff aside I definitely feel better equipped to handle the day once I’ve revved up that dusty old thing I used to call my metabolism and done some decent breathing. What’s more, there’s nothing so effective at boosting confidence than getting the day’s exercise done first thing. Especially when afternoon or evening sessions are nearly impossible after a day of being on-call to a 4 kilo person who has already figured out I’m her slave for at least the foreseeable future.

Willpower’s a funny thing, isn’t it? If you’re anything like me you will have noticed that once you get on a roll with something, even if it’s a task you were studiously avoiding for some time, it seems to become increasingly easier to carry said task out with each passing day. They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, but maybe it’s more of a case of 21 days to build enough mental strength to fight even the most convincing case of the ‘can’t be bothered’s. And it stands to reason that once you’ve forced yourself through those first painful steps toward change, it can only get easier to persuade yourself to do so again.

The truth is that building mental strength needs to be approached in much the same way as you’d go about training any muscle. It takes dedication, it takes variety, and it takes at least some basic knowledge of how best to achieve great results and what sort of pitfalls you need to avoid along the way.

A while back I read a great article which explains a little of the science behind willpower and also gives you a basic rundown of how best to build it. According to the authors you only have a limited amount of willpower each day, so once you’ve used some of it up you’ll have less left over for the next hurdle you have to face. With that in mind, in stands to reason that the more tasks you set for yourself to achieve each day, the more you’ll drain your mental resources. And let’s face it – how often do you force yourself to overcome the smaller and less important tasks before you tackle the big ones? Like any muscle in your body, your mental strength will be at it’s best when you focus on quality of exertion rather than quantity. And whether or not you take the time to read the full article, at least take a moment now to stop and be honest with yourself about those areas of your life you’d like to be able to face with at least a little more oomph. If you don’t start now, when will you?

Food for Yoga. Food for Life.


Please leave a comment, or send me an email ( If you're keen to learn more about getting the most out of your body then visit me on my regular blog, It's all about how to feel and look amazing both inside and out through correct nutrition and lifestyle.

Monday, October 19, 2009

10 Great Post-Bikram Breaky Or Lunch Ideas

If you're anything like me then food is probably the last thing on your mind as you leave the sweat box. It's enough to make it into the showers and clean clothes and maybe knock back a good half litre or so of water. But come 30 minutes later your body is telling a different tell. It wants food. It needs sustenance. And it better be now! If not sooner. Of course the last thing you want to do is be swayed by that urgent hunger and end up undoing all your good work with a pit-stop at 7-Eleven.

Here are 10 simple meals that you can whip up in no-time (or prepare earlier) to satisfy the growling beast that is your belly. These are perfect for breaky or lunch, but there's no reason why you can't eat them anytime!
  1. Organic or biodynamic yogurt with LSA (linseed, almond, sunflower mix; buy it at your health food store) and fresh berries
  2. Soft-boiled egg with spelt toast, avocado and extra-virgin olive oil
  3. Home-made bircher muesli with almond flakes, cinnamon and organic apple juice - get it soaking before you head off to class
  4. Banana or berry smoothie
  5. Freshly-squeezed veg-fruit juice with soft-boiled egg
  6. Rocket and orange salad with marinated lamb - I use balsamic, oil, lemon, sea salt, and any spices that I feel like on the day
  7. Spinach, tomato and almond salad with balsamic and grilled chicken
  8. Isagenix IsaLean Shake: organic protein, fats and carbohydrate
  9. Goats feta and spinach omelette with grilled leg ham
  10. Thai beef salad with fresh lime - keep it simple, just use beef, fresh coriander, spinach leaves, bean shoots and cucumber.

Food for Yoga. Food for Life.


Please leave a comment, or send me an email ( If you're keen to learn more about getting the most out of your body then visit me on my regular blog, It's all about how to feel and look amazing both inside and out through correct nutrition and lifestyle.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

This is very much an out of the ordinary post for me. But given the worldwide fear of swine flu, the recent initiation of no-cost swine flu vaccinations in many countries, and the important nature of this information for your and your family's health, I thought this was well worth sharing. Most of us Bikram devotees are very health alert, and (regardless of your personal persuasions towards vaccinations) I trust that this is an issue at least worth your consideration.

H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine Insert Admits It Causes Guillain-Barre Syndrome,
Vasculitis, Paralysis, Anaphylactic Shock And Death

Flu Pandemic
Tuesday, Sept 29th, 2009

The package insert for the Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent Vaccine manufactured by Novartis has been leaked on the Internet. According to that package insert, the vaccine (based on an earlier vaccine product known as Fluvirin) is known to cause a whole host of very nasty side effects such as guillain-barre syndrome, vasculitis, anaphylactic shock and even death.

Of course anyone who has been studying vaccine side effects already knows that it causes all of these things, but the story here is that the insert for the swine flu vaccine itself is admitting all of these things. The insert says that it was updated during September 2009, so it reflects the very latest information -

You can read the package insert for this vaccine for yourself right here.

The following is a list of some of the very nasty side effects that the vaccine package insert admits to.

* Local injection site reactions (including pain, pain limiting limb
* movement, redness, swelling, warmth, ecchymosis, induration)
* Hot flashes/flushes
* Chills
* Fever
* Malaise
* Shivering
* Fatigue
* Asthenia
* Facial edema.
* Immune system disorders
* Hypersensitivity reactions (including throat and/or mouth edema)
* In rare cases, hypersensitivity reactions have lead to anaphylactic shock and death
* Cardiovascular disorders
* Vasculitis (in rare cases with transient renal involvement)
* Syncope shortly after vaccination
* Digestive disorders
* Diarrhea
* Nausea
* Vomiting
* Abdominal pain.
* Blood and lymphatic disorders
* Local lymphadenopathy
* Transient thrombocytopenia.
* Metabolic and nutritional disorders
* Loss of appetite.
* Arthralgia
* Myalgia
* Myasthenia
* Nervous system disorders
* Headache
* Dizziness
* Neuralgia
* Paraesthesia
* Febrile convulsions
* Guillain-Barré Syndrome
* Myelitis (including encephalomyelitis and transverse myelitis)
* Neuropathy (including neuritis)
* Paralysis (including Bell’s Palsy)
* Respiratory disorders
* Dyspnea
* Chest pain
* Cough
* Pharyngitis
* Rhinitis
* Stevens-Johnson syndrome
* Pruritus
* Urticaria
* Rash (including non-specific, maculopapular, and vesiculobulbous

So What Should You Do If You Do Decide To Take The Vaccine?

As wonderful as all of the above sounds, you may still decide to take the vaccine, or be forced to. At the end of the day it's up to you to decide which way you feel most safe, or most comfortable. Personally, I'm completely against vaccinations of any kind. And trust me, given my current condition I really do understand what a controversial issue this is. Which is why I've gone to great lengths to research the history of vaccinations and their true effects on the incidences of serious illness and disease. A great resource for this is the following website -

So is there anything that you can do to protect yourself if you are forced to take the swine flu vaccine? Yes, there most certainly is. Dr. Russell Blaylock is an expert on vaccines and their side effects, and he has distributed a list of things that you can do to reduce the nasty side effects of the swine flu vaccine. Check it out here. Apologies to any who view this post as fear-mongering. As I said, it's outside the norm for this blog but is nonetheless (I thought) information that should be at least shared and considered.

Food for Yoga. Food for Life.


What are your thoughts on vaccinations in general, and on the swine flu vaccination in particular? Have you personally ‘gone against the system’ and refused immunizations for yourself or your children? I’d love to hear your concerns, feedback, and experiences.

*This post has been reproduced from I thought it was that important!

Please leave a comment, or send me an email ( If you're keen to learn more about getting the most out of your body then visit me on my regular blog, It's all about how to feel and look amazing both inside and out through correct nutrition and lifestyle.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Great Post-Yoga Dinner - Healthy Chilli Con Carne!

Is it just me, or is chili con carne one of those childhood favorites that just gets better with time? I became a ‘tex-mex’ addict during a teenage stint living in Germany. Surrounded by Americans, my entire family soon learned to appreciate the delight of this people-pleaser. I remember going on church camps and being served big bowls of chili out of massive and seemingly never-ending vats. And certainly never saying no to seconds.

These days I still don’t say no to seconds, but I’m happy to say the overall quality of my chili con carne is far superior to that of the ‘we can stretch it to serve 100 people’ stuff. Mind you, I had no complaints at the time!

When it comes to post-yoga food, there's a few very important points you need to keep in mind. Firstly, you really must eat something within an hour or so of finishing class, or you risk burning muscle for energy and slowing your metabolism. Secondly, it really should include protein. Isagenix organic shakes are great for this if you're in a rush, but real food sure doesn't hurt now and then. Thirdly (and perhaps most importantly!) - make sure whatever you eat tastes pretty darn good. If you're well prepared, this recipe can meet all three points easily.

The recipe was kindly shared by a client of mine – and has already found it’s way onto the most popular list in my kitchen. It’s a little more detailed than most of the recipes I post, but well worth the added effort – particularly when it means leftovers for the next night or for a healthy and satisfying lunch. If you're planning to eat this one a post evening class then I'd definitely suggest cooking in advance - there's nothing better than coming home to a proper meal that's already been prepared after 90 minutes of hard-working sweat!

Fran’s Chili Con Carne – The Mix

  • 1-2 tablespoons refined coconut oil (refined so it doesn’t taste like coconut, but make sure it’s organic)
  • 1 brown onion, halved and finely chopped
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 capsicum
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 600-700 grams organic beef mince
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 400 gram can Italian diced tomatoes (or dice your own fresh tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup tinned red lentils or kidney beans
  • 2-3 small red chillies
  • Organic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander (leaves and stems)

Putting It Together

Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Try to avoid using a non-stick pan as the teflon will invade and toxify your food. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until onion is soft. Next, add the ground herbs, pepper and chili. Stir for about a minute. Throw in the mince meat and continue to stir with a wooden spoon. Be sure to break up any lumps. Pour in the wine, add the worcestershire, and cover for around 5 minutes. Sneak a little wine for yourself -especially if it’s Spanish red wine; renowned for its extremely high levels of resveratrol, which is a wonderful anti-aging antioxidant and is also helpful for detoxifying fat stores around your legs and butt.

Uncover, and add the tomatoes, the cinnamon stick, the fresh coriander, and the red lentils. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for around 20-25 minutes – enough time for your chili con carne to thicken. Stir occasionally, in between finely chopping the carrots, celery, and capsicum. Remove from heat and stir through the veg, before tasting and adding sea salt and pepper to enhance.

Return to heat for a further 10-15 minutes, keeping on a low simmer. Serve with a fresh green salad – and don’t forget to take out the cinnamon stick! This dish should serve 2-4 people (depending on whether you’re as greedy for seconds as I am!), so keep that in mind and adjust accordingly if you’d like leftovers. I say if you’re going to go to the trouble of cooking, you might as well make enough to tide you over for a day or so. Besides which, I find that this sort of dish really reaches its peak on the second day – enough time for all those yummy flavors to well and truly blend.

Fran’s Tip:

You can freeze this dish for up to one month – just place in an airtight container or glad bags (be sure to allow to fully cool in the pot before transferring to plastic, which will release harmful toxins and cause hormonal imbalance). After packaging, label, date, and freeze. To thaw, simply leave in fridge overnight. This makes the best quick and easy dinners on a Monday when you don’t want to think – could it get any easier than heat and serve after having done all the hard work on another day?!


Food for Yoga. Food for Life.


Do you have any natural food tips or questions you'd like answered? Please leave a comment, or send me an email ( If you're keen to learn more about getting the most out of your body then visit me on my regular blog, It's all about how to feel and look amazing both inside and out through correct nutrition and lifestyle.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Healthy Smoothie Recipe

Do you ever have one of those mornings when you're in such a gigantic rush that you can barely even THINK about throwing something together to eat? When you pat yourself on the back just for taking the time to make a quick coffee before you hit the ground running? I don't have to tell you that skipping breakfast is a very, very bad idea when it comes to health, to energy, and certainly when it comes to weight management.

And if you're planning a Bikram session later in the day then you're just setting yourself up for disaster - you know what a difference there can be in your practice when you're adequately energized!

When I'm really pushed for time a quick smoothie is one of my favorite pick-me-ups. And you know I'm not talking about just any old juice-bar smoothie (usually chock full of sugar in the form of excess fruit and add-ins). I'm talking about a real power smoothie - a complete meal with all the nutrition you need for a truly healthy start to the day. Not to mention an exceptionally yummy taste.

Here's my tried'n'tested recipe for a truly delicious and healthy breaky to go. The key to making it a super-quick option is to prepare the dry ingredients the night before and have the fridge/liquid ingredients ready to go first thing.

The Base

  • 100ml of raw, full-fat milk. If you can't access raw dairy (ask your local organic store - especially at the market), go for organic and preferably non-homogenized full-fat milk. Always buy dairy products as close to their natural state as possible.
  • 100 ml filtered water.
  • 1 scoop of quality organic whey protein powder. If you're lactose intolerant, have 2 scoops instead, and use water instead of milk for step one (this particular brand of protein powder contains only 0.6% lactose and is also soy and gluten free). If you choose not to use the protein powder, use 200ml of milk and no water for your base - but remember that protein is the key to a truly healthy meal and is particularly important first thing in the morning. Please don't add raw eggs as they can create food intolerance. Boil an egg the night before to have on the side if you like!
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (this will give you long-lasting energy and is a FANTASTIC metabolism kick-start)
  • 1 teaspoon Stevia (or more depending on your preference). Stevia is a naturally sweet herb up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, and with no adverse effects on your blood sugar levels. It truly is a guilt-free sweet treat! Find Stevia in your health food or organic store.
  • 2-3 tablespoons raw or organic full-fat plain yogurt
  • 4-6 ice cubes

Make it interesting

  • Being the choc-loving gal that I am, I love to add 1-2 flat tablespoons of raw or dark cacao powder. Good quality chocolate is a fantastic source of minerals and antioxidants, and has wonderful weight loss benefits.
  • EITHER: A handful of fresh seasonal berries - again, a wonderful source of antioxidants and pretty much the only truly healthy fruit option in my opinion. Frozen berries (preferably organic) are an okay back-up.
  • OR: 1-2 tablespoons of nut butter. A variety of tasty nut butters are available in most health food and organic stores.
  • 1-2 tablespoons organic flaxseeds (whole, preferably unhulled) for an Omega-3 and fiber boost.
  • A couple teaspoons organic ground coffee for an added pick-me-up and antioxidant boost (it's your call whether you'd combine this with a nut butter smoothie, or stick to a choc-coffee mix!)

Of course you're going to need to invest in a good blender - this baby won't come out too smooth if you try to put it together in a hand-held shaker! I make this shake once or twice a week when I really need to move fast. I wouldn't recommend a liquid breaky everyday as there is some evidence that this can elevate cortisol (stress hormone) levels over time. Keep in mind also that this recipe is more of a post-class than pre-class meal option if you're practising in the morning. For before class, just blend up half an Isagenix shake with water - this will keep you going without filling you up. But it's certainly a great back-up for a busy morning or post-workout meal, and is a far better option than that coffee and low-fat muffin!

Do you have any smoothie recipes of your own that you can share? Or any ideas for variations?

Food for Yoga. Food for Life.


This article has been reproduced from my blog

Do you have any natural food tips or questions you'd like answered? Please leave a comment, or send me an email ( If you're keen to learn more about getting the most out of your body then visit me on my regular blog, It's all about how to feel and look amazing both inside and out through correct nutrition and lifestyle.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Joint Pain: How To Fast-Track Your Healing

Back pain, neck pain, knee pain, ankle pain, sometimes it seems you're just one big ache from top to toe, doesn't it? And small wonder, when most of your day is spent seated. Probably, dare I say, not with optimal posture. When you keep your knees and elbows bent for most of the day the stiffen up in no time. When you sit with your legs crossed, your hips aren't going to thank you for it. And when you slouch over the computer or in front of the TV, you'll soon pay the price with a grumpy back and neck.

Fortunately Bikram Yoga goes a long way toward healing and soothing joint pain. Not only can regular Bikram fight off the day-to-day damage we inflict upon our poor bodies, it can actually start to break down old calcium deposits and heal long-term injuries. In fact, most people have noticed a loosening of their joints couple with some welcome pain relief after as little as two or three classes.

If joint pain is an issue for you then there are two very important things I'd encourage you to do on a weekly basis.

1. Continue to practice Bikram as often as possible in order to ensure the progressive loosening of your joints.

2. Give those creaky joints a helping hand with optimal joint nutrition.

So what sort of foods are good for your joints? The short answer is anything that's a whole, unprocessed food. But we can get a little more detailed than that. Firstly, it's crucial that you minimise sugar or sugar-enhanced foods in your diet. Your body has what we call a Totem Pole of priority when it comes to where to send good nutrition and how to deal with sugar and other toxins. Your joints aren't critical to your survival, so they're at the bottom of the pole. Not only does this mean that good nutrition heads there last (all the more reason to eat well at least 80% of the time), but it means that any sugar or junk you do eat is likely to hit your joints long before it gets anywhere near your vital organs. I've had clients who eat extremely well notice creakiness in their knees almost immediately after indulging in a piece of cake. Imagine the effects of daily sugar intake on your joints.

If cutting something out is the first step, then adding something in is definitely the second. Foods high in Omega-3 are not only crucial for a healthy metabolism and immune system, they actually reduce all inflammation in your body, and can therefore have an immediate and positive effect on reducing joint pain. Fish, of course, is well known for it's Omega-3 properties, but did you know that it's mainly the fattier, oilier fish which have this quality? Choose salmon, herring, sardines, mackeral, and any other fatty fish. Don't worry about your weight - this is the good fat, it helps you to burn stored body fat. There is a catch - most fish these days is quite toxic with mercury and is often genetically modified. For this reason I'd suggest a good supplement such as Melrose Omega-3 from fish oil (mercury free). Omega-3 is also found in flaxseeds and in walnuts, as well as in grass-fed organic beef (yes, it has to be grass-fed and organic for the good fats to be present).

If you're allergic to fish and you can't stand beef, then you still have a few options. All smart fats will assist toward joint repair and recovery, along with a plethora of other great health benefits. The smart fats (aside from Omega-3), are organic saturated fat from animals, eggs - especially the yolk, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, and coconut oil.

Back pain, neck pain, knee pain, ankle pain - you'll be amazed at just how quickly they fade when you're sweating it out regularly and fueling your body with the right foods. Of course supplements have their place, but you can sure have a massive impact with the medicine that Mother Nature provides you.

Food for Yoga. Food for Life.


Do you have any natural food tips for keeping your joint pain in check? Please leave a comment, or send me an email ( If you're keen to learn more about getting the most out of your body then visit me on my regular blog, It's all about how to feel and look amazing both inside and out through correct nutrition and lifestyle.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stay Healthy And Energized With This Warming Winter Soup

Today I'd like to share with you an important follow up to my last post - how to prevent flu attacks with Bikram and smart winter foods. I say this is an important follow-up because it's all about the food part!

One of my favorite smart winter foods is my spicy vegetable and chicken soup. It's yummy, it's totally healthy, and it definitely fills me and keeps me charged for my next Bikram class. Best of all, it takes less than 10-minutes to make. Now that's what I'd call the perfect food, wouldn't you?!

Kat's Spicy Vegetable And Chicken Soup
  • Moredough Kitchens vegetable stock (I like this brand as it has no added rubbish, but you can subsitute your own)
  • 500grams chicken thighs (use breast if you prefer but the richer darker meat is actually much better for health, immunity, and weight management)
  • 1/2 a celery, including the leaves
  • Large handful fresh green beans
  • 1/2 a cauliflower
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 tin organic lentils (purists can soak dry lentils overnight, but this is where I'm a little lazy!
  • Organic chilli flakes (1-2 teaspoons, depending on taste)
  • Plenty of certified organic sea salt
  • Pepper
  • 3-4 glasses of purified water
  • 30 grams feta per person
  • Fresh basil or coriander (optional)
Putting it together is pretty simple. Quick-chop the vegies (I like to use organic vegetables for the added taste and nutrition), and throw them into a pot with the stock and 3 glasses of water. Use a medium heat. Add the whole chicken thighs to the mix, and the recommended spices. Add the lentils as well.

Leave until it comes to the boil, and then drop to a simmer. After about 20-30 minutes, use some tongs to pull the chicken out. Allow to cool, and then loosely shred, before mixing back in. Add salt and pepper again if needed. Leave for about 30 minutes (although you can serve earlier if you're getting hungry!)

Serve with fresh torn basil or coriander, and some feta.

Finally, sit back smug in the knowledge that you had a yummy dinner at a low-cost and that it was extremely good for you! Oh - and to save a bit of extra time after work, pre-chop your veg in the morning.

Do you have any tips for smart winter recipes? Leave a comment below. Alternatively, contact me with your queries on this or other food and yoga related topics, and I'll try to answer your question as a post.

Food for Yoga. Food for Life.


Please leave a comment, send me an email (, or visit me on my regular blog, It's all about how to feel and look amazing both inside and out through correct nutrition and lifestyle.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Prevent Flu Attacks With Bikram And Smart Winter Foods

I've been practising Bikram for a little over 2 years now, and so this is my third winter with the sweat box to get me through. It's around this time each year that I've noticed numbers dip and sway a little. And why wouldn't they? The mornings are fast becoming icy and most of us have either been sick or are fighting hard not to sick. Even if that's not you, the warmth of bed in the morning or the couch and some comfort food at night is hard to avoid. It's all too easy to tell yourself that it would be smarter to stay home in the warmth, to preserve your winter health with some extra sleep.

Well sleep and rest is sure important, but let me tell you this. I've never before come across an exercise form as effective as Bikram for staving off flus and colds. We all know that prevention is the best cure, and in this case we've got the ultimate example. Next time you consider staying home, letting another day pass with no healthy movement, or maybe even indulging in that extra big comfort dinner, make the smart choice, and get your butt down to class before the winter blues turn well and truly into the winter flu.

Of course exercise alone isn't enough to complete any aspect of health. If you're not nurturing your body with some smart winter foods then you'll be fighting hard all flu season. Here's how to cruise through winter with nutrition choices to warm your body and soul, toughen your immune system, and fight off those ever-present pesky diseases.
  • As my Chinese Medicine Practitioner used to say to me, "keep your kidneys happy". This means not only should you keep your lower back warmly covered from the cold (and your head, especially post-class!), but you should choose warm winter foods to nourish your organs and your health.
  • With that in mind, now is definitely the time to re-heat everything (stove is better than microwave), choose warm breakfast foods like a healthy cooked breaky rather than cold cereal, and indulge in plenty of soups and stews.
  • Teas are a fantastic way of staying warm and building health through winter. Ginger and lemongrass is great for immune system health, but if you don't like tea then one of my favourite anti-flu brews is a simple mix of hot water, lemon, and a dash of honey. Add a little ginger for flavour and warmth.
  • Use spices liberally. If you're a chilli-lover, then go nuts. If not, all warm spices such as pepper, lemongrass, coriander and ginger are a great addition to a standard meal and a wonderful way to boost your health.
  • Try not to go too hungry. A little hunger is a good thing, but allowing near-starvation to set in - particularly after class - is nothing but a fast-track to illness. You need to regularly provide your body with the nutritional tools it needs to get through each day. Aim for 3-5 mid-size meals each day, and try to keep even your snacks on the warmer side. Poached fruit with full-fat organic yogurt is one of my favourites.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes. Okay, so this last one's not about nutrition, but it's just common sense. One of the greatest benefits of Bikram is the heat and the detoxification of potential illness. But the absolute worst thing you can do is run straight out into the cold with inadequate covering. Even if it's just for a minute or two, and espeically if your hair is wet. The same principle goes at home - keep the heater on low and try to get moving a little every hour or so. When you do venture outdoors, don't kid yourself that a jumper, jacket, scarf and hat is overkill.
We're all exposed to germs every day. We each come into contact with people who are sick or about to be sick. You can't avoid that - but with Bikram and some smart winter foods you can sure do your best to fight off the flu for the rest of the season.

Do you have any tips for fighting off sickness during winter? Leave a comment below. Alternatively, contact me with your queries and I'll try to answer it as a post.

Food for Yoga. Food for Life.


Please leave a comment, send me an email (, or visit me on my regular blog, It's all about how to feel and look amazing both inside and out through correct nutrition and lifestyle.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

10 Tried And Tested Rules For A Healthy Breakfast

"There are sooooooo many rights and wrongs when it comes to what to have for breakfast that is filling and isn't going to chew up the quote of calories per day. I've heard fruit is best, then I heard oats are best and some say protein only is the way forward! Help!"


I'd say this question or something very similar is easily amongst the top five wonderments of my clients, readers and even my family - and it's long overdue for a post!

But where do I start? I'm quite certain you'd already know that the skipping breaky approach, or the muffin/croissant on the way to work is not ideal, but do you really know what's good for you when it comes to a healthy breaky? As Amy points out, there really is an overload of information out there. Here's what I've learned when it comes to the truth about that first morning fuel.

1. Fanning The Fire

You simply must eat something for breakfast. No ifs, no buts, no exceptions. This is a sure case of simple but powerful truth. The food that you eat at the start of the day fans the fire of your metabolism. When we talk about breaky 'getting you up and going' it means so much more than actually getting you out the door. Without that fuel, your metabolic furnace is doing squat, and your energy will be limited all day as a result. The lack of nutrition that comes with not eating till lunchtime or later means you're also more likely to binge out on junk food as the day progresses. Double whammy.

2. Calories Don't Count

Calories really don't count, not in the morning, and not at any time of day. So don't count 'em. Simple, really. You see it's not really about how many calories or kilojoules you eat, but what they're made up of. Even more importantly, what your body actually does with them. It's obvious that anything natural has to be better for you than anything processed, and yet the avid calorie counter easily deludes themselves into thinking they're doing the right thing by sticking with low-cal foods like skim yoghurt and salads. Fat-free snacks such as rice cakes and wheat crackers are also popular. Never mind the fact that these foods put your body into fat storing mode by releasing the hormone insulin and causing cravings. Follow the other steps in this post both for breaky and the rest of the day and you'll have a fail-safe recipe for weight loss and optimal wellbeing.

3. Protein Power

According to Charles Poliquin the first 50 grams of protein you consume each day sparks off Phase I and II detoxification, which is your body's natural daily cleanse function. Until you've gone through this process you can bet your body won't be burning much fat and your energy will be poor. Why would you leave it till lunch? No morning meal is complete without protein. Animal protein. And I'm not just talking eggs. But variety is the spice of a healthy metabolism and although you might think it sounds strange to eat steak or chicken or lamb for breakfast, have you ever considered why? Are we really that sucked in by cereal marketing? Do you think a caveman woke up and reached for the cornflakes? Trust me - once you try this, you won't go back.

4. The Carb Conundrum

If you think you need carbs for energy you need to think again. In fact, if you're serious about health and weight loss you really should be extremely careful with carbs. I'm not talking about all carbohydrates, you understand, just the starchy ones that come to most people's mind when they hear the C word. All grains (yes, even organic), including pasta, rice, noodles, as well as potatos and pumpkins fit into this category. As does fruit with the exception of berries. Fruit aside (which is just a no-no due to the high sugar content) these are all processed foods and should be avoided if optimal digestion, lasting energy, and a lean body are your goals. If you're not convinced, simply take the no-starch challenge for 2 weeks. You'll be a convert! Instead of grain-based foods load up on green vegetables and mushies for breaky. Now that really is the stuff of champions!

5. Be Smart About Fat

Fat is a classic example of a high-calorie food that actually helps your body to release stored fat. Sounds strange, I know, but it's true. The 'catch' is that this rule only works with the smart fats. Sorry, no hash browns or greasy sausages. Smart fats include avocado, raw nuts and seeds, organic coconut oil, organic extra virgin olive oil, and the absolutely vital omega 3's. Use coconut oil for your cooking and then liberally add olive oil or avocado for taste. You can eat up to an entire avocado each day as a great supplement to health and metabolism. Quality cheeses including goats or sheeps feta are also perfect smart fats for breaky.

6. 'Breaky Like A King'?


Don't be fooled into thinking that protein for breaky means fill up on the heavy stuff and load up on the extras. We're talking about a healthy breaky for fuel and function, not a big hangover breaky. The main differences are quantity and quality. Quantity's obvious. By quality I'm talking two main things - oils, and processed foods. The typical big breaky, particularly from a cafe, is chock-full of cheap and fattening vegetable oils, and - whilst it might include eggs and the like - is usually at least 50% processed grains. With some trans fats thrown in for good measure. Stay clear!

7. Caffeine - Good News!

For years I beat myself up on being hooked on my morning coffee. And why? Sure, there are over 200 chemicals in coffee, but you can solve that problem by going organic. Tastes better anyway. And yes, it does stimulate your nervous system into a state of 'fight or flight', falsely charging you with adrenaline and cortisol, but there's nothing wrong with a little boost if it fits in with your body's natural rhythms. Especially when you lead a fit and healthy lifestyle. What's more, and what's certainly most important, I just plain love the smell, the taste, and the experience. Reasoning aside, good quality coffee is chock-full of polyphenols, which are cancer-fighting antioxidants. In fact, one study I read indicated that those who don't drink coffee die five years earlier!

8. What If You're Not Hungry?

If you're not hungry in the morning it means your natural rhythms are out of whack. This could be from poor sleep quality, chronic stress, caffeine, alcohol or sugar late at night, poor nutrition, a lack of exercise or digestive dysfunction. If you listen to your body in this case and choose to skip breaky, you're perpetuating a cycle of poor health, low energy, and a slow metabolism. Sometimes you need to force change in order to bring about results. I understand that you may find the idea of eating first thing nauseating, but this is just another sign that your system is not right. When you're healthy you'll wake with great energy and a raging appetite. Starting to eat a small breaky as well as addressing any of the above-mentioned factors is the first step to getting to that point. Initially you may need to hold off for an hour (I wouldn't suggest much longer than that, and it may mean you have to take a pre-prepared breaky to work), and consume just a few bites of the required foods.You simply will not meet your health and fitness goals without fanning that fire every morning.

9. Something Extra

You're only human and there's sure to be times when you'll skip breaky, chow it down at top speed, or end up with a not-quite-right mix. It's basically impossible to consistently eat well enough to get all your nutrients from food. Especially when you consider that non-organic food has up to 56% less nutrients. And the unfortunate truth is that even if you were to eat an 100% all-organic diet, the quality of our soils coupled with the nutrient-zapping effects of stress and a busy lifestyle mean that you'd still be missing out. Quality supplements are a crucial part of any serious health and fitness junkie. The everyday basics include a good multi, omega 3's, zinc, B vitamins, magnesium and digestive enzymes. Tough though I might make this sound, I do have to stress that off the shelf is rubbish. It doesn't break down and typically does not contain the crucial active ingredients. I import all my supplements from a trusted source in the States. Contact me to find out more about choosing quality supplements, or consider having your BioSignature assessment done sometime soon to truly find out where you're deficient and exactly what your hormones are up to.

10. Best Way To Brunch

I totally get that you can't be expected to live the straight and narrow all the time. And why would you want to?! Weekends in particular can sometimes be all about the indulgent brunch, and sometimes you just have to go for the gooey sweetness of a big pancake breaky. This morning I went for french toast with mascarpone, bacon and maple syrup. Poached eggs on the side. I like to think of this as a 'smart' cheat. It certainly wasn't ideal, I won't try to argue there! But at least I still got some quality fuel from the eggs at the same time as fulfilling my protein needs. If you're out for a lazy cafe brunch every once in a while I'd encourage you to indulge. But you really will feel better about it if you include an element of nutrition alongside the carbs and sugar. And go easy on the fruit juice - one regular glass max ... even the freshly-squeezed stuff is a killer for waistlines!

Do you have any questions about breaky that weren't answered her? How about other meals? How about general nutrition, health and weight loss advice? Anything you're not sure of or anything that's frustrating you? Contact me with your queries and I'll try to answer it as a post.

Not just Food for Yoga. Food for Life.


Please leave a comment, send me an email (, or visit me on my regular blog, It's all about how to feel and look amazing both inside and out.

Friday, March 20, 2009

4 Guilt-Free Sweet Treats That Actually Improve Your Health

I've noticed that there's a few common themes in the change-rooms post Bikram Yoga classes. Aside from the normal chit-chat as to what lies ahead or behind us for the day, and aside from the obvious 'look how red my face is!' or 'wasn't that a fantastic class' comments, there seems to be a lot of discussion about food.

I guess it stands to reason - after 90 minutes of twisting, holding, bending and stretching, not to mention sweating does tend to lend itself to a certain must-be-satisfied-soon sort of ravenous hunger. And even though most of us take a good 30 minutes or so after class before we can really stomach the idea of food, that doesn't mean we're not already thinking about what we might get stuck into, does it?!

So with that in mind, and given that I know you're wanting to keep a strong focus on health but at the same time, well, live a little, I thought I'd give you my favourite sweet treats that actually improve your health. You may be surprised by one or two of them ..

1. Stevia - a lifesaver for those who love to bake or (admit it!) sprinkle sugar on their food from time to time, this South American herb is actually 30 times sweeter than sugar, and, in it’s liquid format, can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. The really great news here is that not only is Stevia calorie free, but unlike most artificial sweeteners - which are so effective at tricking your body that they cause insulin to be released and fat to be stored - Stevia actually has no effect on your blood sugar. You can purchase Stevia at any organic store or most health food stores.

2. 70% Dark Organic Chocolate. Okay so dark chocolate sure isn’t as sweet as milk, but hey, it’s still chocolate. According to olympic-level Strength and Conditioning Coach and creator of Biosignature Modulation Charles Poliquin, eating up to 90 grams of lead-free organic dark chocolate each day can actually assist in weight loss! Not to mention a helluva lot of ‘feel-good’ factor I might add! Cocoa is rich in polyphonol antioxidants - particularly important for females to support a healthy uterus. Remember - no more than 90grams, and it should be at least 70% dark. To release flavor and reduce pigging out, shave the chocolate with a grater before eating it.

3. Organic white wine or champagne. Those who love their sweet white wine will be thrilled to find out that white wine and even champagne is just as beneficial for its antioxidant properties as what red wine is. Wine contains the before-mentioned polyphonol antioxidant but also has the antioxidant resveratrol - not only does it have stress-building properties, but it improves immune and heart health, and even aids in the release of certain stored body fats.

4. Berries. Regular readers will know I’m not a huge advocate of daily fruit intake. Not if you want to be lean and living in great health, anyway. After all - fruit’s not available all year round in nature so why should we imagine we know better? There is one exception to this rule though, and that’s berries. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, any old berries, just eat ‘em. There’s something ever so luxurious about a bowl of berries with your post meal, isn’t there? One word of warning on berries - conventionally they are quite toxic, so always choose organic. If toxins don’t bother you just compare the taste - it’s like eating water compared to incredible sweetness and flavour.

Do you have any other favourite sweet treats for post yoga that still fit into the healthy category? Please let me know if I've missed anything!

Not just Food for Yoga. Food for Life.


Please leave a comment, send me an email (, or visit me on my regular blog, It's all about how to feel and look amazing both inside and out.