“Wellbeing - the state of being comfortable, healthy and happy.”
With December and the festivities feeling like a distant memory, January is well known for being a dark, dreary month. One too many chocolates may have been eaten and washed down with copious amounts of Prosecco, it’s clear to see why we may not feel our best! The third Monday of January has even picked up the name, ‘Blue Monday’ - the most depressing day of the year apparently. With that is mind, I’ve teamed up with a group of individuals who motivate and uplift me daily to share with you their top tips on how to beat the winter blues and go in to 2019 feeling at your best.
First up, and something I’m very excited to share with you all as my first post in 2019, is an interview with Emily Clarke, otherwise known as Busy Bee Well. I discovered Emily’s Instagram page last year and her website is now a firm favourite of mine. Filled with healthy tips and delicious recipes (you must all try the Apple Bread!) Emily’s website is my go to place when I need to find some inspo. Do you ever have them days where you just feel a little rubbish? Normally my rubbish days are because I’m fueled by the incorrect food that leave me feeling tired and lethargic. Incorrect nourishment, for me, makes everything seem that little harder. My energy is low, and I can’t have that at work (or home to be fair!). Emily never fails to inspire me and give me the information I need to eat well. I hope this interview inspires you all, and gives you a few important tips to feel as great as you possibly can in January, and throughout the year.
Hi Emily! I’m probably not the only one who over indulged over the Christmas period, it’s not uncommon to go in to January feeling a little sluggish. What would you recommend in the way of a January detox (if one at all?!) get us all back to feeling our best?
What a great question Laura! We have all tried a “detox” diet or two, if not more only to have them fail. The problem with these detoxes is that they’re based upon deprivation and restriction and after the “lightness” sets in, we return to unbalanced eating patterns. The key to feeling your best in January is the same as it is the other eleven months - keep it simple.
1) Increase the amount of fresh still water you drink every day. Aim for three litres if you are a woman and four if you are a man.
2) Eat three balanced meals per day with at least half of your plate comprised of non-starchy steamed or fresh vegetables.
3) Move your body. Aim for half an hour of exercise four times per week.
Sugar is one of the most addictive ingredients out there, what’s the best way to curb that 4pm sugar craving? (Especially now we’re all hooked after Christmas)
Sugar is not only addictive, but it is toxic and highly inflammatory. Worst of all, there are so many names - 56 in total - for sugar that many people do not know how to identify them on food labels. The first step in eliminating your afternoon sugar craving is learning to recognize all forms of sugar that are feeding your addiction. Other names for sugar include but are not limited to: high fructose corn syrup, barley malt, sucrose, dextrose, rice syrup, and agave.
At Busy Bee Well I teach my clients to purposefully add in sweeter vegetables like beetroot, carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, and squash to their meals to naturally reduce their refined sugar cravings. For example, by adding a sautéed onion to your morning omelette and beetroot to your afternoon salad, you will be nourishing your body with vegetables that satisfy your sweet tooth throughout the day. So by the time 4pm comes around, you won’t have the urge to reach for a refined sugar calorie bomb that derails your day’s wellness efforts.
Finally, get a proper night of sleep especially during the week. Scientists have recently proven that lack of sleep blunts brain function linked to making healthy eating choices. By discontinuing screen time 60 minutes before bed and going to bed at the same time every night you will boost your brain’s decision making ability-including the ability to resit sugar cravings.
The supplement market is a very confusing one, with pills promising to make you feel more energised in a flash. Is there anything you’d recommend to help get back on track with nutrition?
Most supplements, in my opinion are a great way to make your pee very expensive! All kidding aside, so long as you are eating a well-balanced diet, all of your nutrients should be accounted for. However, depending upon your wellness goals you can boost your efforts over 30 or 60 day periods while you are forming new habits. For example, if your wellness goal is to improve digestion I would recommend adding in an aloe vera supplement in the mornings before eating or drinking. Aloe vera improves the digestive systems function while preventing bloating, constipation, and gas. There are supplements that I believe can be taken everyday to great effect. High quality Fish Oil and Vitamin B12. Fish Oil contains Omega 3 Fatty Acids which are essential to preventing and managing heart disease. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that keeps the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy. It also helps prevent a form of anemia which causes people to become tired and weak. The main sources of vitamin B12 are animals, so if you are a vegetarian, vegan, or eat a largely plant-based diet, then this is the supplement to add in longterm.
I work until 8pm, so easy nutritious meals are a must when I get home late. Can you recommend some quick and easy recipes that are packed with all the good stuff, but don’t take long to make?
Meal prep and semi-homemade are the two key words that will keep you on track! Whenever you do have time to cook, abide by this principle: cook once and eat three times. Eat what you have prepared once and put the other two servings in either the refrigerator or the freezer for later. With regards to semi-homemade, do not be afraid to buy high quality, organic, precooked quinoa (a complete plant-based protein), cauliflower rice, bone broths, etc. These readymade items easily pair with fresh or frozen veggies in dishes that can be prepared in under 15 minutes.
One of my favorites are veggie packed fritatta muffins. They’re high in protein and you can customize them any way you like! My base recipe is: https://www.busybeewell.com/veggie-packed-mini-frittatas/
With Blue Monday a few weeks away - the day where the most sick days are taken, due to people feeling down, anxious and not 100% - what would you recommend to ensure we get to Monday 21st January feeling refreshed and the best version of ourselves.
Avoid anything extreme. Over the holidays you likely overindulged, do not try to reverse this by depriving and restricting yourself. Instead, return to a pattern of balanced eating, drinking, sleeping, and exercise to prevent mental, physical, and emotional burnout. If you have never kept a gratitude journal, this is the year to give it a go. Everyday write down three to five (or more!) moments that made you smile. These can be anything from waking up without pressing the snooze button, drinking all three litres of water, or finding the perfect shade of pink for your manicure. Now, whenever you are having a tough moment or you’re feeling anxious, sad, or ready to quit, you have a notebook filled with your accomplishments and reasons to keep going! Remember your wellness journey is about progress and not perfection.